Top Stories from 2010

Obama Signs Rockefeller Internet Sales Practices Bill
12/29. President Obama signed into law S 3386 [LOC | WW], the "Restore Online Shoppers' Confidence Act". See, White House news office release.

OUSTR Is Considering Filing WTO Complaint Against PRC For Its Rare Earths Export Restraints
12/23. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) released its report [124 pages in PDF] titled "2010 Report to Congress On China's WTO Compliance". It states that the OUSTR is considering filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) alleging that the People's Republic of China's (PRC) restrictions on the export of rare earth materials (REM) violates its WTO obligations. The PRC followed this announcement with its own announcement that it will further restrict exports of REMs.

Commentary: the FCC's BIAS Rules and the Congressional Review Act
12/21. On December 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted (but did not release) rules that regulate broadband internet access service (BIAS). A majority of members of Congress are on record as opposing new regulation of broadband. Also on December 21, Sen. Kay Hutchison (R-TX) said in the Senate that she would introduce a Resolution of Disapproval (ROD) under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block these rules, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) issued a release that states that "Reps. Upton, Walden and Terry will look toward the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA) to fight the FCC's actions."

Obama Addresses Export Control Reform Process
12/16. President Obama gave a speech on December 9, 2010, at a meeting of the President's Export Council (PEC), in which discussed several trade related topics, including changes to the US export regulation regime. He stated that the regulations are a "maze" and "onerous" and that they are being reformed. He also announced several items that are a part of an ongoing reform process.

6th Circuit Rules There Is A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy In Stored E-Mail
12/14. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) issued its opinion [98 pages in PDF] in US v. Warshak, which involves application of the 4th Amendment to the government's ex parte seizure of approximately 27,000 of Warshak's private e-mails. The Court of Appeals held that a subscriber enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of emails that are stored with, or sent or received through, a commercial ISP. The government may not compel a commercial ISP to turn over the contents of a subscriber’s emails without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause.

House Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Civil Liberties and ICT Issues
12/9. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will held a hearing titled "Civil Liberties and National Security". This hearing covered a wide range of topics involving detention, interrogation, torture, prosecution and trial of defendants, prisoners of war, foreign detainees, and terrorism suspects. However, some of the hearing addressed information and communications technology (ICT) related topics, including the state secrets privilege, warrantless wiretaps, government access to consumers' phone call records, and a potential CALEA like statute for the internet.

Rep. Upton to Chair House Commerce Committee
12/7. The Republican Steering Committee selected Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to be Chairman of the House Commerce Committee (HCC) in the 112th Congress, which meets in January of 2011. The Chairmen of the HCC's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet (SCTI) and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection (SCCP) for the 112th Congress have not yet been named.

Copps Wants to Impose Public Value Test on Broadcasters
12/3. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps gave another speech [8 pages in PDF] in which he railed against media, big companies, gatekeepers, Wall Street and investors. In addition, for the first time, he proposed that the FCC impose a "Public Value Test" (PVT) on broadcasters. The BBC employs a PVT in a different context.

Genachowski Announces Plans to Regulate Broadband
12/1. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it is scheduled to adopt an order at its December 21, 2010, event titled "open meeting" that includes rules for regulating broadband internet access service (BIAS) providers. However, this item will not reclassify BIAS as a Title II service. The FCC has not released the text of the proposed rules. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski read a speech [4 pages in PDF] on Wednesday morning, December 1, 2010, in which he described and advocated, but did not recite, these proposed rules. See also, TLJ web page titled "TLJ Comparison Chart: Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS)".

Commentary: Comparison of December 2006 to December 2010
11/23. If the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) carries through with a meeting on December 21, 2010, and adopts an item that imposes a network neutrality regulatory regime, then its 2010 and 2006 meetings will have numerous similar attributes.

House Republicans Warn Genachowski Not to Adopt Internet Regulation Order at December Meeting
11/19. Some participants in the long running debate over network neutrality mandates are now acting as though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to adopt an order at its December meeting that contains network neutrality rules. However, the FCC has issued no public notice or statement to this effect. Nineteen Republicans on the House Commerce Committee (HCC) sent a letter [PDF] to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on November 19 warning him that it would be a "mistake" to adopt a "network neutrality order" at the FCC's December meeting.

NTIA Announces Plan to Reallocate 115 MHz of Spectrum
11/15. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report [262 pages in PDF] that announces plans to reallocate 115 MHz of spectrum currently used by federal agencies for wireless broadband "in the next five years".

FCC Is Investigating Google
11/11. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) stated in a release on November 10, 2010, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "is rightly investigating whether Google's Street View cars steamrolled privacy laws in pursuit of mapping information."

Simpson & Bowles Propose Changes for FCC Auctions, USF, CPB and R&D Tax Credit
11/10. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, Co-Chairs of the National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR), released a document [50 pages PDF] titled "Co-Chairs' Proposal", and an attachment [24 pages in PDF] titled "$200 Billion in Illustrative Savings". Several of their proposals relate to information and communications technology (ICT).

FCC Declares That States May Tax Intrastate Revenues of Nomadic Interconnected VOIP Providers
11/5. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Declaratory Ruling (DR) [12 pages in PDF] in which it held that going forward states may impose universal service taxes on the intrastate revenues of nomadic interconnected voice over internet protocol (VOIP) service providers.

Rep. Boucher Loses Election
11/2. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) lost his bid for re-election to the House. He is currently the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. He is one of the Congresses leading authorities on communications and internet technologies, laws and policies.

Verizon Wireless to Pay Fine and Give Refunds for Overbilling Customers
10/28. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Enforcement Bureau (EB) adopted and released an Order [PDF] and Consent Decree [9 pages in PDF] regarding Verizon Wireless's billing practices with respect to data usage.

FTC Ends Investigation of Google WiFi Intercepts
10/27. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent a letter [2 pages in PDF] to Google regarding its investigation into Google's interception of wireless communications. The FTC wrote that "we are ending our inquiry into this matter at this time".

Google Intercepted E-Mail Content and Passwords
10/22. Google disclosed in a release that the data that its Street View vehicles collected as part of its WiFi surveillance project included "entire emails and URLs ... as well as passwords".

3rd Circuit Holds Cell Phone Radiation Class Action Preempted by FCC Regulation
10/22. The U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) issued its opinion [85 pages in PDF] in Farina v. Nokia, a putative class action against numerous cell phone manufacturers and retailers of wireless handheld telephones. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the District Court, which dismissed.

FCC Adopts Bill Shock NPRM
10/14. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted and released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [32 pages in PDF] that proposes to regulate the billing and notice practices of mobile service providers. The FCC and proponents of such regulations describe this as "bill shock" relief. This NPRM states that it proposes rules that would require "mobile service providers to provide usage alerts and information that will assist consumers in avoiding unexpected charges on their bills".

Legislators Urge Funding for NTIA BTOPs Grants Oversight
10/12. HR 1 [LOC | WW], the huge spending bill passed by the Congress in February of 2009, provided $7.2 Billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for the purpose of promoting broadband. Much of this money is being spent via multi-year grants. That bill, however, did not appropriate funds for the government to conduct ongoing oversight of these grants. Legislators are now seeking funding for such oversight.

Microsoft Alleges That Motorola's Android Smart Phones Infringe Its Patents
10/1. Microsoft filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (WDWash) against Motorola alleging infringement of nine patents that it states are related to smart phone technology. Microsoft filed a related Section 337 complaint (19 U.S.C. § 1337) with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to prevent importation of allegedly infringing devices. Microsoft did not name as a defendant Google, which developed the Android operating system.

Verizon and Google Announce Legislative Proposal on Internet Regulation
8/9. Verizon and Google announced that they have reached an agreement regarding the regulation of broadband internet access service (BIAS) providers, which they urge the Congress to adopt as legislation. See, two party proposal titled "Verizon-Google Legislative Framework Proposal", Google statement titled "A joint policy proposal for an open Internet", and TLJ chart comparing the key language of the FCC's 2005 Policy Statement, the FCC's 2009 proposed rules, and the just released Verizon Google proposal.

FCC Adopts Disability Access Policy Statement, Order, and NPRM
8/5. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted and released a document [79 pages in PDF] titled "Policy Statement and Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" that pertains to disability access.

FTC and Intel Settle Antitrust Claims
8/4. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Intel announced that they have settled the FTC's administrative claims that Intel violated Section 5 of the FTC Act. See, Agreement Containing Consent Order [3 pages in PDF] and Decision and Order [22 pages in PDF]. This proceeding is in the nature of a Sherman Act antitrust case. However, the FTC proceeded under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which has only rarely been invoked in the antitrust context, to avoid the large body of antitrust case law, and reach conduct that is not prohibited by the antitrust statutes.

Rep. Boucher and Rep. Stearns Introduce Voluntary Incentive Auctions Act
7/29. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced HR 5947 [LOC | WW | PDF], the "Voluntary Incentive Auctions Act of 2010". This bill would amend 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(8) to allow for the sharing of spectrum auction proceeds with the licensees who voluntarily relinquish that spectrum. It could provide a financial incentive for television broadcasters and other licensees to relinquish spectrum.

Congress Passes Foreign Libel Judgments Bill
7/27. The House and Senate passed HR 2765 [LOC | WW], the "Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act" or "SPEECH Act". This bill, among other things, prohibits the recognition and enforcement in the United States of foreign defamation judgments when the foreign court does not afford at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press as the U.S. court.

SEC Files Complaint Against Dell for Failure to Disclose that Income from Intel Included Anti-AMD Exclusivity Payment
7/22. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil complaint [61 pages in PDF] in the U.S. District Court (DC) against Dell, and several of its officers, alleging violation of federal securities laws in connection with its failure to disclose receipt of exclusivity payments from Intel for not using AMD processors.

Sen. Lieberman and Sen. McCain Introduce D Block Bill
7/21. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced S 3625 [LOC | WW | PDF], the "First Responders Protection Act of 2010", a bill to license, not auction, the D Block for use by first responders, and to authorize the appropriation of $11 Billion to build and maintain a nationwide interoperable network for emergency communications.

Genachowski States FCC and NTIA Will Inventory Spectrum
7/14. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski sent a letter to Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC), regarding an inventory of the use of spectrum by licensees and users.

2nd Circuit Holds FCC Indecency Policy Violates First Amendment
7/13. The U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its opinion [32 pages in PDF], on remand from the Supreme Court, in Fox Television Stations v. FCC. The Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) indecency policy "violates the First Amendment because it is unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here". It vacated the FCC's order.

USPTO Releases Draft Five Year Plan
7/9. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a draft [76 pages in PDF] of its "FY 2010-2015 Strategic Plan". This draft plan states that it "is designed to strengthen the capacity of the USPTO, improve the quality of patents and trademarks issued and shorten the time it takes to get a patent". This draft adds that the USPTO ability to accomplish this is contingent upon its receiving adequate funding, fee setting authority, and enhanced post grant reexamination authority.

FCC Discloses Data on High Cost Universal Service Subsidies
7/8. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) responded to questions from the House Commerce Committee (HCC) regarding its high cost universal service subsidy program. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the HCC, stated in a release that "The FCC is not only wasting time chasing a network neutrality `problem´ that doesn't exist, it is wasting Americans' money by failing to reform the Universal Service Fund".

Supreme Court Rules in Bilski
6/28. The Supreme Court issued its opinion [71 pages in PDF] in Bilski v. Kappos, affirming the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir). It offered more flexibility than clarity on when processes that can be described as business methods can be patentable subject matter.

District Court Grants Summary Judgment to YouTube in Copyright Infringement Case
6/23. The U.S. District Court (SDNY) issued an opinion and order [30 pages in PDF] in Viacom v. YouTube, granting summary judgment to the defendants. The District Court held, on cross motions for summary judgment, that the activities of YouTube at issue in this action fall within the safe harbor protection of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), codified at 17 U.S.C.§ 512(c).

IPEC Releases Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement
6/22. The Executive Office of the President's (EOP) Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator released a document [65 pages in PDF] titled "2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement". The report reaffirms the commitment of federal government agencies to protecting intellectual property rights (IPR), summarizes the relevant activities of various federal agencies, and addresses coordination among agencies. It is not a vehicle for announcing new policy initiatives.

FCC Adopts Broadband Reclassification NOI
6/17. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) [64 pages in PDF] that proposes to reclassify broadband internet access services as Title II services, by a vote of 3-2. The providers of broadband internet access services, and their supporters, criticized the NOI. Companies that do not build broadband networks, but whose services to their customers entail usage of broadband networks, and their supporters, praised the NOI.

House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Trinko
6/15. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy held a hearing titled "Is There Life After Trinko and Credit Suisse?: The Role of Antitrust in Regulated Industries".

Senate Commerce Committee Approves Distracted Driving Prevention Act
6/9. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) held an executive session at which it approved S 1938 [LOC | WW], the "Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009". The SCC approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute [16 pages in PDF], and the bill as amended.

Google Responds to Congressional Inquiry Regarding Its Collection of Data from WiFi Networks
6/9. Google's Pablo Chavez sent a letter [7 pages in PDF] to leaders of the House Commerce Committee (HCC) regarding its "collection of data from WiFi networks".

USPTO Proposes Three Track Patent Examination System
6/4. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) proposed a three track patent examination system. The USPTO stated in its release that under the first track, applicants would be able, for an increased fee, to obtain "prioritized" and "expedited" examination. The second track would be for "traditional examination under the current procedures". The third track would enable applicants to delay examination.

WTO's 3rd Trade Policy Review Addresses IPR in the PRC
6/2. The World Trade Organization's (WTO) held a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, regarding its third "Trade Policy Review of China" on May 31 through June 2, 2010. The WTO stated in a release that among the issues addressed were "concern about China's indigenous innovation policies, and their effect in restricting access for foreign products, investors, technology and intellectual property", and "accelerating progress towards China's goal of comparatively high standards for intellectual property rights by 2020".

Obama Signs Satellite TV Bill
5/27. President Obama signed into law S 3333 [LOC | WW], the "Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010", or "STELA". See, White House news office release.

FCC Adopts Broadcast Ownership NOI
5/25. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted and released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) [38 pages in PDF] in its proceeding regarding regulation of broadcast ownership.

FCC Adopts Mobile Wireless Competition Report
5/20. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Fourteenth Report [308 pages in PDF] on the state of mobile wireless competition. This report is 308 pages long, and is packed with all kinds of data. But, it lacks the one thing that the Congress expressly required the FCC to report -- an analysis of the "competitive market conditions with respect to commercial mobile services", including "an identification of the number of competitors in various commercial mobile services, an analysis of whether or not there is effective competition, an analysis of whether any of such competitors have a dominant share of the market for such services, and a statement of whether additional providers or classes of providers in those services would be likely to enhance competition". The FCC could have offered a conclusion as to whether or not there is effective competition. The above quoted statutory language requires the FCC to report its conclusion. But, the FCC report contains no such conclusion.

Sen. Rockefeller Introduces Bill to Regulate Aggressive Sales Tactics on Internet
5/19. Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC), introduced S 3386 [LOC | WW], the "Restore Online Shoppers' Confidence Act". In addition, the SCC released report [25 pages in PDF] prepared by the majority staff of the SCC titled "Supplemental Report on Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet". This bill recites in its findings that "the aggressive sales tactics many companies use against their online customers have undermined consumer confidence in the Internet".

Public Knowledge Urges Anti-Circumvention Exceptions
5/13. The Public Knowledge (PK) released the third paper [71 pages in PDF] in a series on reforming copyright law. This paper is titled "Updating 17 U.S.C. § 1201 for Innovators, Creators, and Consumers in the Digital Age". This paper proposes to create exceptions to the anti-circumvention provisions of 17 U.S.C. § 1201, which was enacted as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It proposes to allow circumvention for any non-infringing purpose, and the manufacture, importation and sale of circumvention devices for any non-infringing purpose.

Photographers and Graphic Artists File Class Action Copyright Infringement Complaint Against Google
4/7. The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), Picture Archive Council of America, and others filed a complaint [22 pages in PDF] in the U.S. District Court (SDNY) against Google alleging copyright infringement in connection with Google's scanning, storing and distribution of books and periodicals that contain copyrighted photographs and other visual works.

Court of Appeals Vacates FCC's Comcast Order
4/6. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion [36 pages in PDF] in Comcast v. FCC, vacating the August 2008 order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that asserted authority to regulate the network management practices of broadband internet access providers. The Court held that the FCC lacks statutory authority to do this.

DOJ Will Not Challenge AP's Internet News Registry
3/31. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division sent a business review letter to The Associated Press (AP) in which it stated that the DOJ has "no present intention to challenge the development or operation" of "a voluntary news registry ... to facilitate the licensing and Internet distribution of news content created by the AP, its members, and other news originators".

Digital Due Process Coalition Proposes Changes to Federal Surveillance Law
3/30. A newly organized coalition of companies and groups named Digital Due Process (DDP) announced a set of four principles which they argue should be incorporated into the federal statutes that regulate government searches and seizures of stored communications and data.

House Subcommittee Approves Calling Card Consumer Protection Act
3/24. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection amended and approved HR 3993 [LOC | WW], the "Calling Card Consumer Protection Act". The Subcommittee approved a manager's amendment by voice vote, and then approved the bill as amended by voice vote. The bill next goes to the full Committee. This bill requires that prepaid calling cards disclose certain information. See, bill as introduced [16 pages in PDF] on November 3, 2009, manager's amendment [5 pages in PDF] approved on March 24, 2010, and TLJ edit of bill [HTML] showing changes made by the manager's amendment.

Class Action Complaint Alleges School District Use of Laptops to Surveil Students
3/22. Blake, Michael and Holly Robbins filed a complaint [17 pages in PDF] in the U.S. District Court (EDPa) on February 11, 2010, against the Lower Marion School District (LMSD) and others alleging violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. § 2511), Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030), and Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. § 2701), violation of their rights under the 4th Amendment (42 U.S.C. § 1983), and violation of other laws, in connection with the school district's alleged clandestine and unauthorized use of school issued laptop computers to engage in remotely controlled webcam monitoring of students in their homes.

FCC Releases National Broadband Plan
3/15. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a document [376 pages in PDF] titled "A National Broadband Plan for Our Future". The FCC also released a summary [6 pages in PDF] and a release [2 pages in PDF].

President Obama Addresses Export Policy
3/11. President Obama signed an executive order titled "National Export Initiative". In addition, the White House news office issued a release on the same subject. This order states that the U.S. will work to "remove trade barriers abroad". It says nothing about removing U.S. trade barriers to imports from abroad.

House Commerce Committee Approves Truth in Caller ID Act
3/10. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) amended and approved HR 1258 [LOC | WW], the "Truth In Caller ID Act Of 2010", by voice vote. See, amendment in the nature of a substitute [4 pages in PDF]. The bill does not require truth in caller ID information. Callers would remain free to block caller ID information. Callers would remain free to transmit false caller ID information, provided it is not with intent to defraud. And, law enforcement and intelligence agencies would remain free to do whatever they choose with caller ID information.

Supreme Court Reverses in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick
3/2. The Supreme Court of the US issued its opinion [23 page in PDF] in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick, reversing the judgment of the Court of Appeals (2ndCir). The Supreme Court reversed, 8-0, holding that the copyright registration language in the first sentence of 7 U.S.C. § 411(a), which the Court of Appeals held was jurisdictional, is not jurisdictional.

Microsoft Obtains Ex Parte TRO in Waledac Botnet Case
3/2. Microsoft filed a complaint [63 pages in PDF] on February 22, 2010, in the U.S. District Court (EDVa) against unnamed defendants alleged to be operators of a controlled network of computers -- a botnet named Waledac -- that is used to send spam e-mail messages. The District Court issued a sealed ex parte temporary restraining order (TRO), that contains an order directed at non-party VeriSign regarding domain names used in controlling the botnet.

Genachowski Proposes Public Safety Use of Entire 700 MHz Band
2/25. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech at the FCC regarding public safety and the FCC's forthcoming national broadband plan (NBP). Among others things, he said the the NBP will propose moving forward with the D Block auction, and also mandating that public safety entities have access to "the entire 700 MHz band through roaming and priority access arrangements".

Telecom and Cable Companies Oppose Reclassifying Internet Access As Title II Telecommunications
2/22. A collection of telecom and cable companies and groups submitted a letter [14 pages in PDF] to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing proposals to regulate broadband internet access services as Title II telecommunications services. The Public Knowledge (PK) argued in a January 26, 2010, filing [17 pages in PDF] that the FCC should "reclassify broadband access as a Title II service".

FCC Expands E-Rate Program to Cover Non-Educational Services
2/18. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted, but did not release, an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that expands the FCC's e-rate tax and subsidy program to cover non-educational uses.

House Bill Proposes FCC Regulation of Internet Search Providers
2/16. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced HR 4504 [LOC | WW], the "Standards for Internet Non-Censorship Act of 2010", on January 26, 2010. He proposes to delegate legislative authority to the President -- to write standards for internet search providers. He proposes that the "free" nations of the world write international standards. Finally, he proposes that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) write rules regulating internet search.

Rep. Markey Introduces Sweeping E-Rate and E-Books Bill
2/9. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced HR 4619 [LOC | WW], the "E-Rate 2.0 Act of 2010". This bill would expand the FCC's e-rate program to provide for subsidies for broadband access for households containing someone who qualifies for the federally subsidized school lunch program. It would also expand the e-rate program to include community colleges and the federal head start programs. Finally, it would create an e-books subsidy program.

Defendant Charged with Wire Fraud for eBay Cookie Stuffing Scheme
2/9. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (USAO/NDCal) charged Christopher Kennedy by criminal information [PDF] with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with his alleged creation and sale of a computer cookie stuffing program directed at eBay that enables users of the program to obtain referral income from eBay to which they are not entitled.

DOJ Criticizes Amended Google Books Settlement
2/4. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division filed a pleading [31 pages in PDF] with the U.S. District Court (SDNY) in Authors Guild v. Google regarding its continuing objections to the amended proposed class action settlement, also known as the amended settlement agreement, or ASA.

Amazon and Macmillan Clash on E-Book Pricing
2/3. The Macmillan publishing company released a statement on Sunday, January 31, 2010, by its CEO, John Sargent, regarding ongoing negotiations with Amazon regarding the sale, and pricing, of digital books. Amazon stopped selling Macmillan books, both physical and digital.

U.S. Tech Groups Complain About PRC's Use of Domestic IP as Trade Barrier
1/26. The Business Software Alliance (BSA), Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), TechAmerica, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and fourteen other groups sent a letter to U.S. government officials complaining about the People's Republic of China's (PRC) procurement policy described as "indigenous innovation".

DOJ Requires Ticketmaster Live Nation to License Ticket Software and Divest Ticketing Assets
1/25. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and numerous states filed a complaint [PDF] in the U.S. District Court (DC) against Ticketmaster and Live Nation alleging violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which is codified at 15 U.S.C. § 18, in connection with their proposed merger. The parties simultaneously announced a settlement.

Another DOJ Inspector General Report Finds FBI Misconduct in Obtaining Phone Records
1/20. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a redacted copy [306 pages in PDF] of another in a series of reports that finds misconduct at the FBI in its communications surveillance. The report discloses misconduct by the FBI in its use of "exigent letters" to obtain phone records from collaborating communications companies that "target" reporters at the Washington Post and New York Times.

Google Accuses Red China of Cyber Attacks Directed at Human Rights Activists
1/19. On January 12, 2010, Google released a statement regarding cyber attacks on its systems, and the systems of other companies, by the People's Republic of China (PRC). Google accused the PRC of hacking for the purpose of surveilling "human rights activists". Google added that it is "no longer willing to continue censoring" search results in the PRC, and that it may "shut down".

Antitrust Division Urges FCC to Make More Spectrum Available for Wireless Broadband
1/4. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division submitted a comment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in connection with the FCC's drafting of a document titled "National Broadband Plan". The DOJ states in this comment that wireless broadband could become a competitor to wireline broadband provided by cable and telecom companies. It states that the FCC should make more spectrum available for wireless broadband. Also, it suggests doing so in a manner that puts it in the hands of competitors to major incumbent wireline broadband providers.

Free Press Asks DOJ and FTC to Investigate Alleged Collusion to Undermine Internet TV
1/4. The Free Press (FP) and other interest groups sent letters to two U.S. antitrust regulators urging them to investigate TV Everywhere for illegal collusion. They also wrote letters urging House and Senate Committees to hold hearings. The FP argument is that there is not enough competition among video distribution companies (cable, satellite and telco), and programming companies, and as a result, prices are too high, and consumers are dissatisfied. Moreover, this is unlikely to change without government regulation. But, the FP narrative continues, the government can assure more competition by invoking antitrust law to impose artificial competition through a compulsory licensing regime for video programming.