Friday, January 28, 2005

Hatch introduces copyright conglomeration

On Tuesday, January 25, Senator Hatch introduced the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (FECA) of 2005 (109 S. 167) (text not yet available on Thomas). The FECA is a conglomeration of previously-presented bills, including the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act, the Family Movie Act, the National Film Preservation Act, and the Preservation of Orphan Works Act.

UPDATE: Text of FECA available here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

PTO anti-fee diversion to be resurrected in the 109th Congress?

Senator Norm Coleman (MN) is planning to introduce the Collaborative Opportunities to Mobilize and Promote Education, Technology, and Enterprise (COMPETE) Act.

Among various grant and tax credit provisions, the bill also apparently includes provisions aimed at ending the diversion of Patent and Trademark Office fees to non-PTO programs (see this post on Promote the Progress for more details).

Sound familiar? It should. The anti-fee diversion provisions of the COMPETE Act are, according to one report, essentially the same as HR 1561 (The Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act) from the 108th Congress. Remember that PTFMA was designed to end diversion practices and enjoyed broad support despite dramatic fee increases, but was gutted of its anti-fee diversion provisions in a late-term push to raise PTO user fees.

No word yet on when the bill will be introduced in the 109th Congress officially.

Hearing set for Bono spyware bill

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will conduct a hearing on the Bono anti-spyware bill, HR 29, tomorrow, January 26, 2005 at 10:00 AM.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Let the Grokster Games Begin

Copyfight: Pam Samuelson has written her debut post on the weblog for her new class at Berkeley, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Technology: Legal and Policy Challenges:
It will be interesting to see whether MGM's position will be more refined than it was at the trial court and before the Ninth Circuit. Will it continue to argue positions that the Court considered and rejected more than twenty years ago in the Sony v. Universal decision? Or will it articulate some new and possibly more targeted challenge to Grokster's defense?
Also, (via Copyfight) you can access the Grokster Briefs via RSS: here. [via]

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Grokster Supreme Court Argument

The Supreme Court has scheduled the oral argument in the Grokster case for March 29, 2005. [via]

Tech companies to get their lobbying on

According to an article on Wired News today, after the recent (and not necessarily finished) battle over the Induce Act, technology companies are determined to become more involved in DC lobbying. One of their main goals will be the codification of the Betamax doctrine into the copyright law. I hope they get moving on this because lately they've only been playing defense when it comes to the law, with Hollywood nearly knocking them out in every round.

Wired News: Techies Talk Tough in D.C.

Conference Announcement: Some Modest Proposals 2.0

    Some Modest Proposals 2.0
    A Conference About Pouring Academic Ideas Into Legislative Bottles
    Thursday-Friday, February 24-25, 2005
    Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 55 Fifth Avenue, NYC, NY 10003

    In "Modest Proposals," we invite academics known for advocating thoughtful ways to improve intellectual property, technology, and information law to present ideas from their writing in the form of actual statutory, regulatory, or treaty language. The proposal then receives both scholarly and political commentary in a free-wheeling discussion among professors, current and former Capitol Hill staff, Administration officials, and Washington activists. This year, Modest Proposals 2.0 will have a set of copyright, patent, and privacy law proposals -- and a stellar cast of participants, including many of the founding participants from our first Modest Proposals.


    Thursday, February 24, 2005
    12:30pm, Registration
    1:00pm – 2:30pm, Repairing Copyright’s Fair Use, Michael Madison
    2:45pm – 4:15pm, Gag Rules and Information Flows: Or, How to Do Secret Surveillance in an Open Society, Peter Swire
    4:45pm – 6:15pm, Patent Law, Drugs, and the Health Crisis in the Developing World, William Fisher III & Talha Syed

    Friday, February 25, 2005
    8:30am – 9:30am, Continental Breakfast
    9:00am – 10:30am, A Notice Requirement for DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rules, Pam Samuelson
    10:45am – 12:15pm, Patent Fair Use, Dan Burk
    2:00pm – 3:30pm, Treating Online Surveillance Like a Wiretap, Susan Freiwald

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Induce Act is coming to Cali

California State Senator Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) is trying to kill the technology industry in California. Murray introduced a nastier version of the INDUCE Act into the California Senate last week, entitled Peer-to-peer networks: file sharing software.

The bill provides that anyone who sells, advertises, or distributes peer-to-peer file sharing software, as defined, that enables the user to electronically disseminate recordings or audiovisual works over the internet is punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,500, imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Although, the bill attempts to target the distribution unauthorized audio recordings, pornography and spyware, it would effectively overrule Betamax and cripple innovation. The bill is over broad and fails to effectively target that which it seeks to regulate.

Let Murray know what you think about this bill.

Related Posts
* California Senator Wants To Throw Ed Felten In Jail
* State bill could cripple P2P
* Induce -- California Style

Felten on Cal-Induce

Ed Felten responds to Techdirt: California Senator Wants To Throw Ed Felten In Jail:
TechDirt argues that my TinyP2P program would violate the proposed law.

Actually, the bill would appear to apply to a wide range of general-purpose software ...

That definition clearly includes the web, and the Internet itself, so that any software that enabled a user to connect to the Internet would be covered. And note that it's not just the author or seller of the software who is at risk, but also any advertiser or distributor....

This bill is terrible public policy, especially for the state that leads the world in the creation of innovative network software.

Grokster and Freedom to Connect

Professor Susan Crawford claims to have it "on good authority that the state AGs are circulating another brief in connection with the Grokster case, to be filed against Grokster on January 24."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

California's state-level INDUCE act unveiled

Snipped from Red Herring's coverage:
A bill introduced in the California Legislature last Friday seeks to do what U.S. federal courts have so far refused to do: criminalize selling, advertising, and distributing peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software. Written by state Senator Kevin Murray (D), a longtime lawmaker from Los Angeles with close ties to the entertainment industry, the legislation is aimed straight at the business plans of file-sharing companies such as Grokster, Morpheus, and Kazaa. The bill would make it a crime to sell file-sharing software without taking “reasonable care” to prevent copyright infringement and pornography swapping.
Link to story, and link to PDF of bill text. (Thanks, boingboing!)

Monday, January 17, 2005


You can now subscribe to the Induce Act blog by emailing us directly [induce at techlawadvisor dot com] with the word "subscribe" in the subject.

Internet Caucus Conference

The 463:
The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host the first annual Internet Caucus State of the Net Conference on February 9 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (7:30 am -- 4:30 PM). Senator Ted Stevens will deliver the opening keynote address followed by policy debates and congressional staff panels on three issue tracks A) Trust, Privacy & Security, B) Intellectual Property and Innovation, and C) Media Convergence and the Telecom Act.
A full agenda is online here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act

Promote the Progress:
Representative Joe Knollenberg (MI) introduced the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act (SCIMGA)(109 HR 32) (xml) on January 4, the first day of the 109th Congress.

The bill changes trademark law to provide for the forfeiture of property used in the counterfeiting upon conviction. Also, the bill clarifies that current law on trafficking in counterfeit goods and services applies to counterfeit labels, patches, medallions and the like.
Continue reading....

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Patent Office issues interim rule for implementation of CREATE Act

Yesterday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an interim rule [.pdf] for implementation of the Cooperative Research and Technology Enhancement Act (CREATE) of 2004. The Act excludes secret prior art from the patentability determination in a patent application when the art and claimed invention arise under an established joint research relationship between different entities.

The interim rule lays the roadmap for practice under the CREATE Act.

Comments on the interim rule must be received on or before February 10, 2005. No public hearing will be held.

You can e-mail comments on the rule here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Joshua Tauberer's GovTrack was the grand prize winner in the Technorati developer contest.

GovTrack can tell you the status of a bill on the floor of Congress and you can monitor legislation that interests you.

According to technorati, is like School House Rock on steroids for adults. also uses the Technorati API to show what bloggers are saying about bills as they work their way through Congress.

update: LawPundit says "Blawgers, if you talk about legislation on your blog and you register your blog at and provide them with your XML feed URL, your blog will automatically show up on when you post about legislation."

Monday, January 10, 2005

From the Archive

Friday, January 07, 2005

Content and Control

Derek Slater has just published "Content and Control: Assessing the Impact of Policy Choices on Potential Online Business Models in the Music and Film Industries":
The paper seeks to support policymakers' decision making by delineating the potential consequences of policy actions in three key areas (P2P networks, infringing consumer distributors, and DRM). To do so, it assesses how such action would impact relevant social values and four business models representative of current and emerging attempts to generate viable revenues from digital media.

Summary of non-patent tech legislation from 108th Congress

Anush Yegyazarian of PC World Magazine has a concise article summarizing non-patent technology legislative efforts from the previous session of Congress.

She even closes with a prediction for the current Congress...I hope she is right in her belief that spyware will see significant action. We're off to a good start on this issue -- As Sabrina points out, Congresswoman Mary Bono reintroduced her anti-spyware bill on the first day of the 109th Congress.