TLJ News from May 16-20, 2012

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5/20. Yahoo and Alibaba Group Holding Limited announced in a release that "they have entered into a definitive agreement for a staged and comprehensive value realization plan for Yahoo!'s stake in Alibaba".

Copyright Office Proposes to Change Definition of Claimant

5/17. The Copyright Office (CO) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) in which it announces, describes, recites, and sets the comment deadlines for, its proposed rules changes regarding the definition of a claimant for purposes of copyright registration.

The CO proposes to eliminate the footnote to the definition of a claimant codified at 37 CFR § 202.3(a)(3)(ii), which provides that a claimant includes individuals or entities that have obtained the contractual right to claim legal title to copyright in an application for copyright registration.

The CO notice states that "This amendment would clarify that the copyright claimant must be either the author of the work, or a person or organization that has obtained ownership of all of the exclusive rights initially belonging to the author. The Copyright Office believes that the footnote creates considerable legal uncertainty while offering no clear benefits to the registration system. Removing it will foster the use of other available registration options that create a more meaningful public record."

Initial comments are due July 16, 2012. Reply comments are due August 15, 2012. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 96, Thursday, May 17, 2012, at Pages 29257-29259.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves PCLOB Nominees

5/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it approved the nominations of David Medine, James Dempsey, Elisebeth Cook, Rachel Brand, and Patricia Wald to be members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB).

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Chairman of the SJC, stated that "I am very concerned that some of the cybersecurity proposals that the Congress is currently considering could significantly harm Americans’ privacy rights and civil liberties." See, transcript.

He added that "Protecting national security and protecting Americans’ fundamental rights are not mutually exclusive goals. We can -- and must -- do both. A reconstituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will help ensure that we do."

See also, story titled "Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on PCLOB Nominees" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,375, April 19, 2012.

Senators Casey and Schumer Condemn Facebook's Saverin

5/17. Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) held a news conference at which they announced that they will introduce a bill titled the "Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy Act", which comes close to producing the acronym of EXPATRIOT Act.

See, excerpts of CNN video [YouTube]. See also, Sen. Casey's release with bill summary.

The two Senators discussed the renunciation of US citizenship last September by Eduardo Saverin, one of the founders and owners of Facebook. Under US tax law he would have realized a taxable capital gain at the time of Facebook's initial public offering. Saverin resides in Singapore, which has no capital gains tax.

The two Senators asserted that Saverin renounced citizenship to avoid US taxes. Sen. Schumer asserted that "we aren't going to let him get away with it".

See, full story.

Rep. Frank Introduces Bill to Regulate Recorded Phone Messages

5/17. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced HR 5794 [LOC | WW], the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Clarification Act of 2012", a bill that would require the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to write rules regulating the placement of messages on consumers' answering machines and voice messaging systems.

The bill would also amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to prohibit the use of arbitration, unless the consumer has agreed in writing to arbitration after collection activities have been initiated.

The bill was referred to the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC). Rep. Frank is the ranking Democrat on the HFSC.

People and Appointments

5/17. The Senate confirmed Jeremy Stein to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the unexpired portion of a fourteen year term that began on February 1, 2004. The vote was 70-24. See, Roll Call No. 102. All of the no votes were cast by Republicans.

5/17. The Senate confirmed Jerome Powell to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the unexpired portion of a fourteen year term that began on February 1, 2000. The vote was 74-21. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and 20 Republican voted no. See, Roll Call No. 103.

More News

5/17. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) introduced HR 5817 [LOC | WW], a bill to amend the Gramm Leach Bliley Act to provide an exception to the annual privacy notice requirement. It was referred to the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC).

Go to News from May 11-15, 2012.