News Briefs from October 6-10, 2001

House Committee Votes 2 Year Extension of Net Tax Moratorium
10/10. The House Judiciary Committee passed a substitute version of HR 1552, the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act, a bill to extend the current moratorium on Internet access taxes, and multiple and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce. The current ban expires on October 20. The Committee approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) that provides a two year extension.
HR 1552, as introduced, and as approved by the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on August 2, would have provided a five year extension of the ban on multiple or discriminatory taxes, and permanently banned taxes on Internet access. The vote on Bachus's amendment was 19 to 15. Then, the bill, as amended, passed by a voice vote.
This Bachus amendment provides that "Section 1101(a) of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note) is amended by striking "3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act" and inserting "on November 1, 2003."
Section 1101(a) of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which was enacted in late 1998, provides that "No State or political subdivision thereof shall impose any of the following taxes during the period beginning on October 1, 1998, and ending 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act ... (1) taxes on Internet access, unless such tax was generally imposed and actually enforced prior to October 1, 1998 ... (2) multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce."
Section 1101(b) provides that "Except as provided in this section, nothing in this title shall be construed to modify, impair, or supersede, or authorize the modification, impairment, or superseding of, any State or local law pertaining to taxation that is otherwise permissible by or under the Constitution of the United States or other Federal law and in effect on the date of enactment of this Act".
Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and other proponents of the five year extension, argued that Internet sales account for less than one per cent of retail sales. They also argued that passage of this bill would require fair treatment of Internet commerce, would assist the development of the Internet, and would grow the economy.
Several members, including Rep. Bachus and Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA), argued that the Internet tax moratorium is harming the ability of state and local taxing authorities to finance schools, police, and fire protection. They also argued that any legislation should both extend the current moratorium, and address state collection of sales and use taxes, which is not affected by the moratorium. Currently, Quill v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), provides that state and local taxing authorities are barred under the Commerce Clause from requiring remote sellers without a substantial nexus to the taxing jurisdiction to collect sales taxes for sales to persons in the jurisdiction; however, the Court added that Congress may extend such authority. Congress has passed no legislation pertaining to sales and use taxes. However, there are several bills pending in the Congress that would provide this authority. See, for example, HR 1410, sponsored by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK), and S 512, sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND).
Rep. Bachus also offered an amendment that would have addressed this issue. However, it was ruled non germane. Rep. Bachus also offered an amendment that would have provided for a mere eight month extension. It was rejected by a vote of 12 to 19. He argued that a shorter extension, as opposed to a longer extension, was necessary to maintain bargaining leverage on the state and local sales tax collection issue.
Senators Introduce Bill to Extend Net Tax Ban
10/10. Sen. George Allen (R-VA), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Sen. John Warner (R-VA) introduced S 1525, the Defense of Internet Tax Freedom Act, a bill to extend the moratorium on Internet access taxes and multiple and discriminatory taxes for five years. The existing moratorium, contained in the Internet Tax Freedom Act, is set to expire on October 21.
Sen. Boxer stated in the Senate that "Because Internet commerce and technology firms are not now fairing well, I support a five year extension of the tax moratorium. I believe that renewed investment in the Internet is crucial to the welfare of the entire economy and we need to support its growth as much now as we did in 1998. Through a clean extension of the tax moratorium, Congress can promote an environment for Internet growth that avoids the uncertainty, inefficiencies, and barriers to entry that new taxes would create."
Sen. Allen stated in the Senate that "by taxing Internet access, States and localities are actually contributing to an already growing economic 'digital divide.' For every dollar added to the cost of Internet access, we can expect to see lost utilization of the Internet by thousands of poor and impoverished families nationwide."
USTR to Appeal WTO FSC Ruling
10/10.The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. will appeal a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the U.S. foreign sales corporation (FSC) replacement statute constitutes an illegal export subsidy. See, USTR release.
On August 20 a WTO panel made public its final report on the legality of the FSC Repeal and Extraterritorial Income Exclusion Act of 2000. The Congress passed, and former President Clinton signed, this Act late last year. It replaced the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) provisions of US tax law, which had previously been held to constitute an illegal export subsidy by the WTO.
The FSC tax regime, and its replacement, benefits US exporters, including software and hardware producers with significant sales abroad, such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Motorola. The EU has complained to the WTO about these tax regimes.
House Passes Internet Education Bill
10/10. The House passed HR 1992, the Internet Equity and Education Act of 2001, by a vote of 354 to 70. See, Roll Call No. 375. This bill would make it easier to obtain student loans for Internet based education, and other distance learning. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
The House rejected an amendment in the nature of a substitute [PDF] that was offered by Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI), by a vote of 99 to 327. See, Roll Call No. 374. She had argued that the relaxed standards of the bill would facilitate fraud, and increase student loan default rates.
The bill amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 by removing the burden of the "12-hour rule" for non-traditional programs. This rule requires educational institutions to keep voluminous attendance records to demonstrate that their students attended certain types of work sessions. The bill also makes exceptions to the 50% requirement by allowing a limited number of institutions to offer more than 50% of their courses by telecommunications, or to serve more than 50% of their students through telecommunications courses. The bill also addresses incentive compensation provisions.
On September 21, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), and others, introduced S 1445, a companion bill in the Senate. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Fed Circuit Reverses in Asyst v. Empak
10/10. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Asyst v. Empak, a patent infringement case involving semiconductor manufacturing. Asyst Technologies provides integrated automation systems for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. It is the assignee of U.S. Patent No. 4,974,166, titled "Processing systems with intelligent article tracking", and U.S. Patent No. 5,097,421, titled "Intelligent waxer carrier". They describe systems used in processing semiconductor wafers into integrated circuits. Asyst filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Empak, Jenoptik and others, alleging infringement. The District Court ruled on summary judgment that defendants did not infringe Asyst's patents. The Court of Appeals ruled that the District Court's claim construction and analysis was flawed. Reversed and remanded.
Committee Approves Financial Services Antifraud Network Act
10/10. The House Judiciary Committee approved HR 1408, the Financial Services Antifraud Network Act of 2001, by a voice vote. This bill, which was approved by the House Financial Services Committee on August 2, provides that "financial regulators shall ... develop procedures to provide a network for the sharing of antifraud information", such as formal findings in disciplinary proceedings of various regulatory bodies. One of the purposes of the bill is to "to take advantage of Internet technology and other advanced data-sharing technology to modernize the fight against fraud in all of its evolving manifestations and permutations."
House Committee to Mark Up Internet Gambling Bill
10/10. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to mark up HR 3004, the Financial Anti Terrorism Act of 2001, on Thursday morning, October 11. This is a large bill introduced by Rep. Mike Oxley (R-OH) and others on October 3 which is intended to combat the financing of terrorism and other financial crimes. Title III of the bill pertains to combating international money laundering. However, it also contains, at 303 and 304, provisions which are aimed at drying up the flow of money in Internet gambling.
303 provides, in part, that: "No person engaged in the business of betting or wagering may knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling (1) credit, or the proceeds of credit, extended to or on behalf of such other person (including credit extended through the use of a credit card); (2) an electronic fund transfer or funds transmitted by or through a money transmitting business, or the proceeds of an electronic fund transfer or money transmitting service, from or on behalf of the other person; (3) any check, draft, or similar instrument which is drawn by or on behalf of the other person and is drawn on or payable at or through any financial institution; or (4) the proceeds of any other form of financial transaction as the Secretary may prescribe by regulation which involves a financial institution ..."  304 requires the U.S. government to encourage foreign governments and international fora to further to goals of the bill with respect to illegal Internet gambling.
Anti Terrorism Bills
10/10. On Wednesday, October 10, the Senate continued its consideration of S 1447, the Aviation Security Bill. It did not take up its anti terrorism bill, S 1510, the USA Act. Nor did the House take up its version, HR 2975, the PATRIOT Act. Either or both houses may take up their versions of these anti terrorism bills on Thursday, October 11.
Both bills contain many provisions that would increase the ability of law enforcement, intelligence, and other government agencies to combat terrorism, including expanded authority to conduct electronic surveillance of phone and Internet communications.
The CDT wrote a "Dear Activist" letter regarding the pending anti terrorism bills. It states, in part: "Legislation to expand government surveillance will be considered by the Senate (and maybe the House) on Thursday, October 11. In the Senate, Sen. Russ Feingold is planning to offer amendments Thursday morning that will address some of the privacy concerns raised by the pending bills, by requiring government surveillance to be more focused and subject to meaningful judicial controls. CDT supports the Feingold amendments."
NTIA to Hold Conference on Broadband Deployment
10/10. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it will hold a day long conference on Friday, October 12, on the status of broadband deployment in the United States. See, NTIA release and agenda.
FTC Files Complaint Against MSC.Software
10/10. The FTC filed an administrative complaint against MSC.Software alleging violation of the Clayton Act. The FTC challenges MSC's 1999 acquisitions of Universal Analytics and Computerized Structural Analysis & Research on the basis that the acquisitions eliminate competition in the market for a type of computer aided engineering software known as Nastran. The FTC seeks the establishment of two competing businesses. See also, FTC release.
House Committee Considers Cyber Security
10/10. The House Science Committee held a hearing titled "Cyber Security How Can We Protect American Computer Networks From Attack?" Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the Chairman of the Committee, said in his opening statement that "American society has become vastly more dependent on computers and the Internet in recent years, making us more vulnerable to criminal or terrorist attacks on our computer networks. Yet research and development on computer security have not kept pace with the growing significance of the threat." He said that he intends to follow up with legislation.
William Wulf (AT&T) said in his prepared statement that "We have virtually no research base on which to build truly secure systems and only a tiny cadre of academic, long term, basic researchers who are thinking deeply about these problems. ... Well funded, long term basic research on computer security is crucial to our national security." See also, prepared statements of Eugene Spafford (Purdue University's CERIAS), Terry Benzel (Network Associates), and Robert Weaver (Secret Service). See also, Committee release.
Pelosi Elected House Minority Whip
10/10. House Democrats elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to be House Minority Whip, the second ranking position in the House Democratic leadership. She defeated Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). The previous Minority Whip, Rep. David Bonior (D-MI), stepped down, because he is running for Governor of Michigan. The top position in the House Democratic leadership is House Minority Leader. Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO) continues in this position.
More News
10/10. The U.S. District Court (DDC) issued its Order [PDF] approving the stipulation for dismissal of the State of New Mexico in the Microsoft antitrust case.
10/10. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts postponed its hearing to examine new priorities and challenges for the FBI, which had been scheduled for October 10.
10/10. The NCTA wrote a letter [PDF] to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, and others at the FCC, regarding recent "measures to facilitate the retail availability of set-top boxes" undertaken by cable companies. It concludes that "The policies adopted by the NCTA Board represent a major advance towards meeting the goals of Section 629 of the Communications Act the 'commercial availability' provision." See also, NCTA release.
10/10. The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in a telric case: Verizon v. FCC (00-511), WorldCom v. Verizon (00-555), FCC v. Iowa Utilities Board (00-587), AT&T v. Iowa Utilities Board (00-590), and General Communications v. Iowa Utilities Board (00-602), consolidated. See, USTA reaction.
Ways & Means Committee Passes Trade Promotion Authority Bill
10/9. The House Ways and Means Committee amended and approved HR 3005 [PDF], the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001, by a vote of 26 to 13 on Tuesday night, October 9. All of the Republican members of the Committee voted for the bill. Two Democrats voted for the bill, while several more did not vote.
See, HR 3005 [57 pages in PDF] as introduced. The Committee approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA), which did not alter the key provisions of the bill. The Committee also approved an amendment offered by Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) regarding foreign corrupt practices.
Trade promotion authority (TPA), which is also known as fast track, gives the President authority to negotiate trade agreements which can only be voted up or down, but not amended, by the Congress. TPA strengthens the bargaining position of the President, and the U.S. Trade Representative, in negotiations with other nations.
Technology companies that export equipment, software, or services, and that seek greater protection abroad for their intellectual property rights, stand to benefit from enactment of TPA.
This bill gives the President authority to negotiate agreements that only reduce tariffs without the need for any implementation from the Congress. (See,  3(a).) The bill also gives the President trade promotion authority to negotiate agreements that address both tariff and non-tariff barriers. (See,  3(b).)
TPA is a controversial issue, but not primarily because of the basic authority granted to the President. Rather, the intense debate has focused on the appropriate role of labor and environmental standards in free trade agreements (FTAs). Free traders and Republicans have tended to argue that these are social issues that are not appropriately included in trade agreements. In addition, there are concerns in Congress about surrendering constitutional authority to the President. Moreover, there are also some important, but not frequently debated, standards in the bill pertaining to intellectual property rights and e-commerce.
HR 3005 attempts to strike a compromise on both labor and environmental standards, and maintaining a significant role for the Congress in trade agreement negotiations. The bill sets "overall trade negotiating objectives" and "principal trade negotiating objectives". Among the principal trade negotiating objectives are "to ensure that a party to a trade agreement with the United States does not fail to effectively enforce its environmental or labor laws, through a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction ..." and "to strengthen the capacity of United States trading partners to protect the environment ..." Moreover, the bill also provides that trade agreements that cover tariff and non-tariff barriers "may be entered into ... only if such agreement makes progress in meeting the applicable objectives ..."
HR 3005 attempts to involve Congress in the process by mandating various consultations with the Congress.
Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) was the most vocal opponent of the bill. He argued that the bill does not go far enough to promote labor and environmental standards. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the Committee, also condemned the bill. He accused Republicans of being partisan in a time of national crisis. He then offered a substitute amendment, which was sponsored only by Democrats. It was rejected.
The meeting, which was scheduled to start at 5:00 PM, started late, broke for several floor votes, and finally concluded over four hours later. The USTR, Robert Zoellick, was present to answer technical questions about the bill. However, much of the time was taken up in substantive debate between Zoellick, who supports the bill, and some of the Democrats on the Committee who oppose the bill. The two Democrats on the Committee who voted for the bill were Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) and Rep. John Tanner (D-TN).
TPA Bill Sets IPR and E-Commerce Objectives
10/9. HR 3005, the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001, which was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on October 9, also sets detailed objectives for the President to meet regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) and electronic commerce.
HR 3005, at  2(b)(4), provides that the "principal trade negotiating objectives" of the President shall include intellectual property. This section states, in part, that "The principal negotiating objectives of the United States regarding trade-related intellectual property are (A) to further promote adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, including through (i)(I) ensuring accelerated and full implementation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ..."
This section also sets as objectives "providing strong protection for new and emerging technologies and new methods of transmitting and distributing products embodying intellectual property" and "ensuring that standards of protection and enforcement keep pace with technological developments, and in particular ensuring that rightholders have the legal and technological means to control the use of their works through the Internet and other global communication media, and to prevent the unauthorized use of their works".
Similarly,  2(b)(8) provides that the "principal negotiating objectives of the United States with respect to electronic commerce are (A) to ensure that current obligations, rules, disciplines, and commitments under the World Trade Organization apply to electronic commerce; (B) to ensure that (i) electronically delivered goods and services receive no less favorable treatment under trade rules and commitments than like products delivered in physical form; and (ii) the classification of such goods and services ensures the most liberal trade treatment possible; (C) to ensure that governments refrain from implementing trade-related measures that impede electronic commerce; (D) where legitimate policy objectives require domestic regulations that affect electronic commerce, to obtain commitments that any such regulations are the least restrictive on trade, nondiscriminatory, and transparent, and promote an open market environment; and (E) to extend the moratorium of the World Trade Organization on duties on electronic transmissions."
These provisions were the subject of very little debate or discussion at the Committee mark up meeting. There was some discussion of IPR. This was mostly regarding patent protection in the context of pharmaceuticals. However, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) also stated that "we are imposing" on other countries by requiring them to comply with TRIPS. USTR Robert Zoellick responded bluntly: "we object to people stealing property."
Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Microsoft Case
10/9. The Supreme Court of the United States denied, without opinion, Microsoft's petition for writ of certiorari in the antitrust case brought against it by the government. See, Order List [PDF] at page 4. The Department of Justice issued a release which quoted a spokesman as saying, "We're pleased with the Court's decision. We'll continue our progress in the District Court." (SCUS No. 01-236, Microsoft Corporation v. United States, et al.)
House and Senate Set to Vote on Anti Terrorism Bills
10/9. Neither the House nor the Senate passed their versions of the anti terrorism bill on Tuesday. However, both bodies are poised to take up the bills this week. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) sought unanimous agreement on Tuesday to proceed to a vote on the USA Act without debate or amendments. However, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) objected.
The House bill is HR 2975, titled the PATRIOT Act. See, HTML version in the Library of Congress web site, and PDF version in the CDT web site. (However, both of these lack the amendments adopted by the House Judiciary Committee on October 3.) The Senate bill is S 1510, titled the USA Act. See, HTML version in the Library of Congress web site, and PDF version in Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) web site. See also, Sen. Leahy's summary [PDF] of the bill.
Both bills contain many provisions that would increase the ability of law enforcement, intelligence, and other government agencies to combat terrorism, including expanded authority to conduct electronic surveillance of phone and Internet communications. Both bills have broad bipartisan support. The Bush Administration favors the Senate bill, in part because it lacks the two year sunset provision contained in the House bill.
Gov. Davis Vetoes E-Mail Monitoring Bill
10/9. California Gov. Gray Davis vetoed Senate Bill 147, sponsored by Sen. Debra Bowen (D-Marina del Rey). This bill would prohibit an employer from secretly monitoring the electronic mail or other computer records generated by an employee.
Gov. Davis stated that "This bill would require employers, by March 1, 2002, to execute signed or electronically verifiable agreements between an employer and employees regarding the right of the employer to monitor the e-mail traffic and computer files of employees. If such agreements are not provided, the bill prohibits employers from monitoring business computers by employees to guard against inappropriate business or personal uses."
He continued that "Under current law, employers are potentially liable if the employer's agents or employees use the employer's computers for improper purposes, such as sexual harassment, defamation and the like. It therefore follows that any employer has a legitimate need to monitor, either on a spot basis or at regular intervals, such company property, including e-mail traffic and computer files stored on either employer owned hard drives, diskettes or CD ROMs."
Gov. Davis concluded in his veto statement that "This bill places unnecessary and complicating obligations on employers and may likely to lead to litigation by affected employees over whether the required notice was provided and whether it was read and understood by the employee."
Rules Committee Adopts Rule for Distance Education Bill
10/9. The House Rules Committee adopted a modified closed rule for consideration of HR 1992, the Internet Equity and Education Act of 2001. This bill would make it easier to obtain student loans for Internet based education, and other distance learning. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
This rule allows for one hour of debate in the House equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. It also allows Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI) to offer her amendment in the nature of a substitute [PDF].
The bill would remove the burden of the "12-hour rule" for non-traditional programs. This rule requires educational institutions to keep voluminous attendance records to demonstrate that their students attended certain types of work sessions. The bill also makes exceptions to the 50% requirement by allowing a limited number of institutions to offer more than 50 % of their courses by telecommunications, or to serve more than 50 % of their students through telecommunications courses. The bill also addresses incentive compensation provisions.
Covad Rebuts Intel and PFF on Broadband Deployment
10/9. October 9 was the deadline to file reply comments with the FCC in its third inquiry into whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecom Act of 1996. Covad submitted a reply comment [PDF] which criticized comments submitted by Intel, the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), and Bell companies regarding broadband deployment.
On September 24, Intel submitted a comment [PDF] in which it stated that "current regulations are unnecessarily undermining the reasonable and timely deployment of broadband". It stated that the FCC "should begin a comprehensive Section 706 rulemaking to review the regulations that apply to all broadband providers." Intel concluded that "the Commission should tentatively propose deregulating all new, last mile broadband investment to encourage the fastest possible deployment of the highest speed technology. For example, it is premature to require cable companies to make their cable modem facilities available to unaffiliated ISPs at regulated rates. Similarly, new last mile DSL investment should not be encumbered by excessive regulation."
See also, comment [PDF] submitted by the PFF on September 24. The PFF also submitted a reply [PDF] on October 9 to its original comments.
Covad wrote in response that "To preserve competition, and to retain invaluable competitive pressures on broadband deployment, the Commission should not adopt the proposals of the BOCs, Intel, and PFF. It can, however, take concrete steps to further the goals of Congress by acting on the petition to adopt concrete federal rules for UNE provisioning that will allow facilities- based CLECs to continue to offer customers a real choice in broadband services. It has been five years since the Act was passed, and the BOCs still do not provide parity treatment to their CLEC wholesale customers. Adopting real provisioning rules, and associated self-executing penalties, will give CLECs and consumers the equitable treatment Congress envisioned."
This FCC notice of inquiry was adopted by the FCC at its August 9, 2001, meeting. See, Aug. 9 FCC release. See also, notice in Federal Register, August 24, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 165, at Page 44636. (CC Docket No. 98-146.)
Bush Names Special Advisor for Cyberspace Security
10/9. President Bush picked Richard Clarke to be the President's Special Advisor for Cyberspace Security. He will report to Thomas Ridge, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, and to Condi Rice, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Clarke was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence under President Reagan. He was also Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs under the elder President Bush. In May 1998, he was appointed National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter Terrorism. See also, White House release and transcript of event announcing Clarke appointment.
People and Appointments
10/9. The SEC announced that Commissioner Laura Unger plans to leave the SEC "this fall". See, SEC release.
10/9. Nancy Victory, head of the NTIA, named people to fill several top positions. Michael Gallagher will be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information starting on November 2. He previously worked for Verizon Wireless. William Bailey will be NTIA Senior Advisor starting on October 11. He previously worked for Coreexpress. Stephen Madden will be NTIA Special Assistant starting on October 10. He previously worked for the Department of Agriculture. See, NTIA release.
10/9. The U.S. Telecom Association (USTA) elected Arne Haynes, President and General Manager of the Rainier Group in Eatonville, Washington, to be Chairman of the Board for a term of one year. See, USTA release.
10/9. President Bush nominated Julia Gibbons to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit and William Steele to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.
More News
10/9. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released a one page report [PDF] titled "2001 Mid Year Anti-Piracy Statistics". See also, RIAA release.
10/9. WTO Director General Mike Moore gave a speech in Paris titled "Preparations for the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference." The 4th WTO Ministerial Conference will take place in Doha, Qatar, next month.
10/9. The National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), The Harry Fox Agency (HFA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that they reached an agreement on the licensing of musical works for new subscription services on the Internet. See, RIAA release.
10/9. California Gov. Gray Davis vetoed Assembly Bill 148, sponsored by Assembly Member Charlene Zettel (R-Poway). Gov. Davis stated that "This bill would have required a study to determine the cost and the most cost-effective means of providing Internet access to every middle and junior high school. While I am most supportive of technology in schools, AB 148's study is duplicative of existing and very current information."
House and Senate to Consider Anti Terrorism Bills
10/8. Monday, October 8, was Columbus Day. Neither the House nor the Senate were in session. On Tuesday, October 9, the House may take up a number of non controversial and non technology related bills and resolutions under suspension of the rules. Then, on Wednesday, the House may take up its version of the anti terrorism bill. The House bill, HR 2975, is titled the PATRIOT Act. (See, HTML version in the Library of Congress web site, and PDF version in the CDT web site. However, both of these versions lack the amendments adopted by the House Judiciary Committee on October 3.)
The Senate may take up S 1447, the Aviation Safety Act, on Tuesday. The full Senate is also likely to take up its version of the anti terrorism bill this week. The Senate bill, S 1510, is titled the USA Act. (See, HTML version in the Library of Congress web site, and PDF version in Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) web site. See also, Sen. Leahy's summary [PDF] of the bill.) This bill is likely to be passed by the Senate without a mark up by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Leahy.
Both bills contain a wide range of provisions intended to increase the ability of law enforcement, intelligence, and other government agencies to combat terrorism, including expanded authority to conduct electronic surveillance of phone and Internet communications. Both bills also enjoy broad bipartisan support as a result of new threats posed by international terrorism.
Legislators in both houses removed or modified some of the provisions contained in the Bush Administration's original proposal, on civil liberties grounds. However, some groups which advocate civil liberties still oppose the bill. See for example, ACLU release.
Gov. Davis Signs AB 821
10/8. California Gov. Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 821, sponsored by Assembly Member Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto). The bill specifies how funds in the High Technology Theft Apprehension and Prosecution Program Trust Fund can be expended. It also adds a representative to the High Technology Crime Advisory Committee.

Go to News Briefs from October 1-5, 2001.