TLJ News from September 6-10, 2011

Senators Introduce Bill to Require Disclosure of Operations Outside the US in All Customer Communications

9/9. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Robert Casey (), and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced S 1536 [LOC | WW], the "Notification of Origin of Telecommunications and Internet Consumer Exchanges Act of 2011" or the "NOTICE Act of 2011".

This is a protectionist bill directed at inhibiting businesses that do business in the US from locating operations outside of the US.

It would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act to provide that "a business entity that either initiates or receives a customer service communication shall require that each of its employees or agents participating in the communication disclose their physical location at the beginning of each customer service communication so initiated or received". Violations would constitute "unfair or deceptive acts or practices" under the FTC Act.

It would cover voice telecommunications, sending e-mail, use of the internet, and any type of communication that involves use of a wire. It would exempt businesses that have no employees or agents in the US.

It would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rulemaking and enforcement authority. The FTC has not asked for this authority.

The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC).

More News

9/9. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, recites, and sets the effective date (September 9, 2011) for, rules changes that repeal of certain obsolete rules. See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 175, Friday, September 9, 2011, at Pages 55817-55819. The FCC announced these changes on August 24, 2011. See, story titled "FCC Repeals Fairness Doctrine, Broadcast Flag, and Other Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,293, August 25, 2011.


Judicial Appointments

9/8. President Obama nominated Stephanie Thacker to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. See, White House news office release and release. She is a partner in the law firm of Guthrie & Thomas in Charleston, West Virginia. Before that, she prosecuted sex and porn cases for the Department of Justice (DOJ).

9/8. President Obama nominated Gregg Costa to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. See, White House news office release.

9/8. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it approved by voice votes the nominations of Morgan Christen (to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit), Yvonne Rogers ( USDC/NDCal), Richard Andrews (USDC/DDel), Scott Skavdahl (USDC/DWyo), Jennifer Zipps (USDC/DAriz), and Sharon Gleason (USDC/DAk). See, SJC release. The SJC also held over consideration of the nominations of Edgardo Ramos (USDC/SDNY), Andrew Carter (USDC/SDNY), Jesse Furman (USDC/SDNY), and Rodney Gilstrap (USDC/EDTex). These four are again on the agenda for the executive business meeting of September 15, 2011. See, notice.

More People and Appointments

9/8. President Obama nominated Kathryn Keneally to be Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Tax Division. See, White House news office release. She is a partner in the New York office of the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski.

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9/8. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, recites, and sets the effective dates for, its reinstatement and revision of its video description rules. See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 174, Thursday, September 8, 2011, at Pages 55585-55606. The FCC adopted its Report and Order (R&O) [48 pages in PDF] on August 25, 2011. These rules mandate that audio be added to certain television programming to describe video content for the benefit of blind and visually impaired people. See, story titled "FCC Reinstates Video Description Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,294, August 26, 2011.

9/8. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech to school students in Washington DC in which he extolled the virtues of broadband internet access.

9/8. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it held over consideration of S 1151 [LOC | WW], the "Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011", S 1408 [LOC | WW], the "Data Breach Notification Act", and S 1535 [LOC | WW], the "Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act of 2011". See also, story titled "Senate Judiciary Committee to Take Up Data Privacy, Security and Breach Bills" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,299, September 1, 2011. These three bills are again on the agenda for the executive business meeting of September 15, 2011. See, notice.

9/8. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced S 1535 [LOC | WW], a data breach notification, and data privacy and security bill. See, Sen. Blumenthal's release. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC).

9/8. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (DC) against Cumulus Media and Citadel Broadcasting, companies that own radio stations, alleging that their merger will substantially lessen competition in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which is codified at 15 U.S.C. 18. The DOJ and the two companies simultaneously filed a proposed final judgment which will allow the merger, but require a few divestitures. See also, DOJ release and notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 178, Wednesday, September 14, 2011, at Pages 56797-56807. This case is USA v. Cumulus Media Inc. and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, D.C. No. 1:11-cv-01619, Judge Emmet Sullivan presiding.


Sprint Files Complaint to Block AT&T T-Mobile USA Transaction

9/6. Sprint Nextel filed a complaint [68 pages in PDF] in the U.S. District Court (DC) against AT&T, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Telekom alleging violation of federal antitrust laws in connection with the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint [25 pages in PDF] on August 31, 2011, seeking to enjoin the transaction. See, story titled "DOJ Files Complaint to Block AT&T Acquisition of T-Mobile USA" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,298, August 31, 2011.

Sprint Nextel alleges violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which is codified at 15 U.S.C. 18. It alleges that the relevant product markets are (1) mobile wireless services to consumers, (2) postpaid wireless services to consumers, (3) business and government accounts, and (4) backhaul. It alleges that for mobile wireless services to consumer and postpaid wireless services to consumers the relevant geographic market is the US. For backhaul, the relevant geographic markets are local.

Sprint Nextel seeks a permanent injunction.

This case is Sprint Nextel Corporation v. AT&T, Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, D.C. No. 1:11-cv-01600, Judge Ellen Huvelle presiding.

People and Appointments

9/6. President Obama announced his intent to appoint Mona Sutphen and Philip Zelikow to be members of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. Mona Sutphen is a Managing Director at UBS. Before that, she was President Obama's White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. Before that, she worked for Stonebridge International LLC and Currenex, an online institutional foreign exchange trading platform. Zelikow is a history professor at the University of Virginia. See, White House news office release.

More News

9/6. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps gave another speech in which he lamented the state of news reporting, and "all the glitzy and often unimportant infotainment that too often passes for news". He suggested that news reporting should involve the "public sector", "schools", "and civic organizations, government and philanthropies, community media centers, libraries and PEG stations". He also stated that the founding fathers of the US "built postal roads and subsidized the costs of distributing news so that citizens everywhere in the land would have the news and information they needed".

9/6. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and others introduced HR 2801 [LOC | WW], the "Eliminate and Stop Abuse, Frequent Exploitation, and Trafficking on the Internet Task Force Act" or "E-SAFETI Task Force Act". This bill would merely create a task force at the Department of State (DOS) "for the purpose of studying and making recommendations to prevent internet-facilitated human trafficking". It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) and House Commerce Committee (HCC).

9/6. The Copyright Royalty Judges (CRJ) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on a motion of Phase I claimants for partial distribution in connection with the 2009 cable royalty funds. The CRJ also request comments as to the existence of Phase I and Phase II controversies with respect to the distribution of 2009 cable royalty funds. The deadline to submit comments is October 6, 2011. See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 172, Tuesday, September 6, 2011, at Pages 55122-55123.

9/6. The Copyright Royalty Judges (CRJ) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on a motion of Phase I claimants for partial distribution in connection with the 2009 satellite royalty funds. The CRJ also request comments as to the existence of Phase I and Phase II controversies with respect to the distribution of 2009 cable royalty funds. The deadline to submit comments is October 6, 2011. See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 172, Tuesday, September 6, 2011, at Pages 55123-55124.


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