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Leahy Introduces Data Security Bill

in Congress/Cybersecurity/Senate by

WASHINGTON June 8, 2011 – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, re-introduced a bill Tuesday that would establish a national standard for the notification to consumers by corporations when data breaches occur.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) cosponsored the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act, a reiteration of bills by the same name that have failed in each of the three previous Congresses.

“The many recent and troubling data breaches in the private sector and in our government are clear evidence that developing a comprehensive national strategy to protect data privacy and security is one of the most challenging and important issues facing our country,” said Leahy through a statement Tuesday. “Protecting privacy rights is of critical importance to all of us”

The bill would criminalize concealing data breaches that could result in economic damages to consumers and increase penalties under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The bills also makes hacking or attempting to hack a computer a criminal offense and private firms would be required to establish and maintain data privacy and security protocols.

Over the last month, Sony’s Playstation network has faced numerous attacks that resulted in the theft of personal information of more than 77 million users. Early this week Nintendo also suffered from a cyber-attack but the company says that no personal data was stolen.

“According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, more than 533 million records have been involved in data security breaches since 2005,” said Leahy in a statement about the bill.

The government would be required under the new measure to ensure the security of sensitive data is protected when it works with outside contractors. The General Services Administration would also be required to evaluate how contractors use and protect consumer data when authorizing contractors.

“When Sen. Leahy first introduced this bill in 2005, there were 22 states with data breach notification laws on the books. That regulatory patchwork was already causing confusion for consumers and unnecessary compliance burdens for companies. Now, almost all states have breach laws.” said Business Software Alliance President and CEO Robert Holleyman.  “BSA urges Congress to pass data security and breach notification legislation this session to create a single, national standard to replace the unwieldy state patchwork we have today.”

Nation’s Intellectual Property Czar Discusses Economic Impacts

in Intellectual Property/International by

WASHINGTON, September 29, 2010 – The nation’s intellectual property czar, Victoria Espinel, highlighted recommendations made in her office’s report addressing ways to improve IP enforcement at an event held by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

She was part of a Tuesday panel discussion titled “The Next Generation of IP Protection: Enhancing Global Economic Growth and Prosperity Event.” Participants included ITIF President Robert Atkinson, Emery Simon from the Business Software Alliance, and Morgan Reed, who is the executive director from the Association for Competitive Technology.

Espinel, whose official title is intellectual property enforcement coordinator from the Office of Management and Budget, addressed four of the 33 recommendations made in the 2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. The goal of the plan is to outline recommendations for the various federal agencies in dealing with IP issues. While the plan has strong bipartisan support, it does not have funding specifically allocated to help execute it.

One of the four recommendations that Espinel mentioned was that the government must lead by example. By ensuring that the procurement process is secure, the government is able to protect the quality of the goods it uses. Initially, the program will focus on the Department of Defense since it faces unique challenges and improper equipment can cause direct harm to human lives. Additionally, that department oversees one of the largest procurement offices spanning the globe and includes a diverse set of goods such as tanks, printers and food. Espinel wants to encourage cooperation among all procurement offices across the federal government.

Espinel commended the negotiators of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in their efforts to try to come to an agreement. The trade agreement looks to create a single set of policies which will be followed globally in order to create better protection for consumers. However, she also emphasized the unique problem caused by China, which is not participating in the talks. While China is a large market, it is also a major violator of IP regulation. Additionally, many of the industrial policies that China has instituted make it difficult for American businesses to compete effectively, she said.

Atkinson said the United States is more dependent on IP than any other economy. In an effort to better quantify this, Espinel has supported the increased analysis of the value of IP to the economy. She would like to see how it affects job growth, job creation and other economic indicators. However, the precise numbers are hard to come by, and the ones pumped out by trade associations for different industry segments are constantly being disputed by other industry trade associations with differing economic interests.

The rest of the panel discussion, which followed Espinel’s address, echoed many of her statements. Steve Metalitz, a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, supported the need for increased funding for Espinel’s office. Simon said that when software is pirated, it affects creators and end users. With increased piracy, software makers must implement increasingly complex anti-theft mechanisms that make usage difficult for legal users. Simon added that large corporations are often huge copyright violators when they share a single license with the entire company in violation of user agreements.

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of RAM – Pirates Take a Bite Out of Small Firm Innovation

in Intellectual Property/International/Patents/Trademarks by

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2010 – The House Committee on Small Business met Wednesday to discuss the growing problem of intellectual property infringement.

“More than 18 million Americans work in industries with an intellectual property focus. … Collectively, these and other industries make U.S. intellectual property worth $5.5 trillion,” said Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y.

Copyright infringement, piracy and counterfeiting have taken larger and larger chunks out of intellectual property ownership every year, she said.

Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America, testified that “for every one song purchased online, 20 are stolen.”

The software and related services sector employs almost 2 million people in the U.S. … [and] software exports contribute a $37 billion surplus to our nation’s balance of trade,” said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance.

Protecting intellectual property is “rooted in the Constitution,” said Holleyman, adding that there was about $51 billion worth of stolen software installed on PCs globally last year.

Holleyman said counterfeiters and intellectual property pirates go to countries where IP laws are lax. From his understanding, there are fewer than 20 people in the Chinese government working on intellectual property, he said.

Carnes said content-specific platforms like the iPod and iPad helped piracy because it makes it easy for a user to legally purchase content, but that people need to know that just because they find something on the internet doesn’t mean downloading it is legal.

Education and enforcement are the keys to solving the growing problem of IP theft, said Holleyman.

Steven Friedman, president of Tampa, Fla.-based T3 Technologies, told lawmakers how intellectual property law abruptly almost put his technology firm out of business. He said large firms are fortunate enough to have cadres of lawyers, but small firms often “eliminate innovation ideas in their plans because of the mere threat of such paperwork and lawsuits. He testified on behalf of the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

“We are encouraged by the Obama Administration’s release of a Joint Strategic Plan on IP enforcement,” Holleyman said. “We urge the U.S. government to execute on this plan and to provide the responsible agencies with sufficient resources to do so.”

The new plan’s suggestions include increasingly stringent trade agreements, increased state and local level involvement, and ensuring that government activity – including contractors – does not use illegal software and hardware.

Peter Carnes, CEO of Traffax of Silver Spring, Md., testified on behalf of the Association for Competitive Technology. He said piracy has affected Traffax because of the sluggishness of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He said it takes 40 months on average for the PTO to grant a patent, and that’s a problem.

During the time between when a patent is published – and consequently the competition can read and see it – and when a patent is granted, there is nothing to stop competitors from making minor changes to the design and selling the product without fear because a patent has not been awarded yet.

Peter Carnes said it’s extremely risky for many small technology businesses because they often do not have furniture, buildings or other physical capital that a bank or investor could repossess. They only have intellectual property.

Peter Carnes suggested that the PTO be given more resources to decrease this delay, sign more stringent trade agreements and expand the Small Business Administration’s loan program for intellectual property.

William Mansfield of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association said while luxury goods and movies and music may be the first things that consumers consider when thinking about IP infringement, it’s a big program for the motor manufacturing industry. Counterfeit goods cost that industry $3 billion in the United States and $12 billion globally in lost sales, he said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Data Security Bills

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact by

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved two data security bills Thursday. The first measure, S.1490, seeks to prevent and mitigate identity theft, ensure privacy, and provide notice of security breaches. It also would enhance criminal penalties, law enforcement assistance, and other protections against data security breaches. The legislation was filed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

The panel also approved a bill, S. 139, which would require federal agencies, and persons engaged in interstate commerce to disclose any data breach of sensitive information. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., authored the second measure.

In response, Business Software Alliance President Robert Holleyman said, “The frequency and severity of data breaches have prompted more than 45 states to pass data security laws, creating a confusing ‘patchwork quilt’ of regulations. This is why BSA supports creating a single national framework requiring that consumers be notified when the security of their personal data has been compromised.”

Webcasts of Broadband Breakfast Club Now Available Online

in Broadband Calendar by

Premium Webcasts on Key Topics in Broadband Policy Available Online Through BroadbandCensus.com’s Partnership with TV Mainstream

Press Releases

WASHINGTON, January 14, 2009 – Webcasts of the Broadband Breakfast Club, a discussion group on the key issues at the intersection of broadband technology and internet policy, are now available for purchase on the BroadbandCensus.com channel of TV Mainstream.

Held on the second Tuesday of each month from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the Broadband Breakfast Club brings together key stakeholders to share perspectives on broadband technology and internet policy, and breakfast. The events take place at the Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington.

Telecommunications policy advocates, attorneys, policy-makers and journalists seeking to obtain insights from top officials in Washington can attend the Broadband Breakfast Club, which includes a full American and Continental breakfast, for as little as $45.00. The events are on the record and open to the public. Register here for the next breakfast event.

For individuals outside of Washington, or whose schedule doesn’t permit attendance in person, archived webcasts of the Broadband Breakfast Club are now available on the BroadbandCensus.com channel on TV Mainstream. One full year of online access to each premium webcast is available for $40.00.

Individuals who register to attend the Broadband Breakfast Club will also receive a full year of complementary online access to the webcast.

Among the individual speakers who have participated in the Broadband Breakfast Club, which began in October 2008, include:

Click here for the list of registered attendees.

Webcasts of the Broadband Breakfast Club Produced in Partnership with:

TV Mainstream

Because of the limited size of the venue, seated attendance will be reserved for the first 45 individuals to register. The Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by CTIA – The Wireless Association, and the Benton Foundation.

About BroadbandCensus.com

The Broadband Breakfast Club is hosted by BroadbandCensus.com, which provides free information and news about local broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition. As with BroadbandCensus.com, the Broadband Breakfast Club seeks to light on key issues in broadband technology and internet policy through public disclosure and discussion.

BroadbandCensus.com uses “crowdsourcing” to allow internet users to share information about their internet experiences. Take the Broadband Census today at http://broadbandcensus.com/census/form.

Ten Years After Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Electronics Companies Regret Supporting Law

in Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, October 14 — Consumer electronics manufacturers and owners of intellectual property offered divergent views of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 10 years after its passage.

Speaking at the inaugural forum of the monthly “Broadband Breakfast Club” hosted by BroadbandCensus.com, Mitch Glazier, senior vice president for government relations for the Recording Industry Association of America, called the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions “very successful.”

Glazier, who worked on the DMCA while working as a legislative counsel to Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual property, said that the DMCA was in part responsible for the success of DVDs and Apple’s iPod and iTunes service.

But Michael Petricone, senior vice president for government affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association, offered a “mea culpa” for the DMCA on behalf of the electronics industry. “We took them at their word,” Petricone said of those who said the anti-circumvention provisions would be used only to tackle legitimate piracy.

Petricone said that the DMCA has hampered the development of new technology and harmed consumers.

Petricone compared the anti-circumvention measures to Congress enacting a law making jumping a neighbor’s fence illegal, even though existing tresspass law is sufficient to protect property.

The DMCA is “extremist” and “chills fair use,” he said, tipping the scales in favor of content owners and giving even the weakest DRM technology the “force of law.” But that law is being applied to behavior Congress did not anticipate, Petricone said.

The anti-circumvention measures in the DMCA foreclose innovation, said Berkman Center for Internet & Society fellow Wendy Seltzer. Instead, the law puts us in a position where we need permission to innovate, she said.

Seltzer, who founded ChillingEffects.org, a repository of DMCA takedown notices, said her site shows how the law is routinely misused. But “it’s hard to talk about what we can’t see” because people haven’t been able to get permission to innovate in advance, she said, suggesting that Congress could “tweak” the law to protect free speech.

Broadband wasn’t in the mind’s eye of Congress when the DMCA was crafted, said Emery Simon, counselorat the Business Software Alliance. Simon dismissed calls for reforming the law and said it was a “sideshow” compared to other problems. The content industry is still making the adjustment to a media environment in which they cannot control all aspects of digital distribution, Simon said. But he also insisted anti-circumvention protections are needed — “If people create something, they should be able to protect it,” he said. “Why shouldn’t there be rules?”

Those rules give incumbents incentive to exclude competition, Petricone countered. He said that the DMCA’s exemptions are “stingy and ludicrous,” and had created a “permission culture” that stifles innovation. Seltzer agreed, adding that anti-circumvention rules have hampered computer science research, and prevented investors and entrepreneurs from exploring new technologies.

Simon strongly disagreed, calling Petricone’s arguments “gobbledegook.” Critics should be more worried about highly invasive deep  packet inspection techniques undertaken by broadband providers. Such inspection could be used to enforce copyrights, he said.

New Broadband Ecosystem – With Content Protection – Offers Better Future for Entertainment Industry

in Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, October 8 – The “broadband ecosystem” of the future needs strong legal, technological and cultural efforts to protect American intellectual property, a group of entertainment and technology executives said Wednesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Fifth Intellectual Property Summit.

Although the panelists also spoke about the importance of preserving users’ right to make “fair use” of copyrighted material, they emphasized the importance of technological protection measures.

“We know the story” on the history of the music industry, said Mark McKinnon of Arts+Labs, a coalition of technology and entertainment companies that develops content delivery and protection systems.

McKinnon compared the music industry’s negative experience with Napster file-sharing service with the success of commercial video sharing site Hulu. McKinnon said Hulu accounts for 90% of commercial television being viewed online. “The models are finally being figured out.” In the future, consumers would respond positively to online content that is affordable, legal, and safe, said McKinnon.

There is “no question” that old business models need to change in a networked world, said Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel for NBC Universal. Embracing digital distribution will “drive the future,” Cotton said. “It’s what consumers want.”

New content protection technology brings the promise of a “mature model” of internet distribution that avoids “the dark side” of peer-to-peer technology, said Cotton. The broadband ecosystem envisioned by Cotton would somehow tell people that they can access programming as they please, but also send a message that stealing is not acceptable. Such an ecosystem must be built cooperatively, balancing ease of access, consumer desires and a choice of ad-based or fee-based models.

Putting content-style restrictions on technology can be an “enormously powerful teacher” that can teach people on a “speed bump basis,” Cotton said. Without such technological measures, Cotton said, young people could grow up believing that “if [downloading pirated content] is easy, it can’t be wrong.”

Referring to the success of Hulu and NBC’s Olympic video streaming, Cotton said that a broadband-based model would be successful if there are clear “rules of the road,” and as long as consumers could easily access legal content.

Content protection has a critical role to play in the future, said Rick Lane, senior vice president of government affairs at News Corporation. Protection mechanisms have to allow some control for content owners, while leaving room for new and innovative business models, he said. Without content protection mechanisms, Lane predicted that online content would be reduced to the model of a DVD purchase.

More consumer education would cut down on “Net Pollution,” McKinnon said, suggesting educational campaigns to link pirated content with malware and viruses.

The ecosystem would have some room for fair use, Cotton said. Content protection is not about facilitating mashups, he emphasized. Rather, technological restrictions must focus on whole episodes, skits, and movies, he said.

“Fair use should not be a code word for doing nothing,” Cotton proclaimed, adding that technology should send cues about what is right.

Lane and McKinnon agreed that consumer convenience is paramount in any content protection scheme and should be “seamless,” Lane said. McKinnon predicted that with the rise of broadband and good content protection, it would not be long before “DVD’s are like 8-tracks.”

Fair use is not incompatible with content protection, Lane said. Content protection technology is a “key component” of the future broadband economy, and mechanisms could be devised to protect fair use as well as copyrights. Lane cited News Corp.’s MySpace Music as an example. He said that MySpace had received “zero complaints” about its content protections restricting fair use.

Lane said the idea that News Corporation is against fair use was “ridiculous.” Cotton said that fair use and privacy are too often used as “scare tactics,” and said people need to “get past the name calling” when it comes to examining content protection mechanisms. “Trying to create fear doesn’t help the dialogue,” he said.

Cotton said later in an interview that improving technology will make piracy more difficult, but consumer rights and fair use will be protected with “reasonable accommodations” built into copy protection technology. The “vast majority of people” will be satisfied by such accommodations, while fulfilling the goal of cleaning up the “wild west” of today’s internet, he said.

In an interview, David Sohn of the Center for Democracy and Technology took issue with Cotton’s characterization of fair use as a “code word” for anything. Content protection systems can’t distinguish fair use from copyright infringement, Sohn said. Instead, he called fair use an “important policy consideration” that is not only enshrined in law, but is also a “safety valve” so that copyright law doesn’t violate the First Amendment.

Sohn said he hoped the future will include a “broad range” of options available to consumers. Such options should be in response to consumer demand for content models that meet their needs. Market pressures simply won’t allow content to be completely locked down, he said.

Broadband Breakfast Club Forum on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:

Editor’s Note: Don’t miss “10 Years Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – Success or Failure?”, on Tuesday, October 14, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Old Ebbitt Grill, 675 15th Street NW, Washington.

This event, the kick-off event in the monthly “Broadband Breakfast Club” hosted by BroadbandCensus.com, is designed to bring several key stakeholders together to share perspectives on this topic:

  • Drew Clark, Executive Director, BroadbandCensus.com (Moderator)
  • Mitch Glazier, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Recording Industry Association of America
  • Michael Petricone, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Consumer Electronics Association
  • Wendy Seltzer, Practitioner in Residence, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, American University Washington College of Law
  • Emery Simon, Counselor, Business Software Alliance

Breakfast for registrants will be available beginning at 8:00 a.m., and the forum itself will begin at around 8:30 a.m., and conclude promptly at 10 a.m. Seated attendance is limited to the first 45 individuals to register for the event. For more information, visit http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com

BroadbandCensus.com Presents the Broadband Breakfast Club With Event on Digital Copyright

in Broadband Calendar by

October 14 Breakfast to Feature Representatives from Software, Electronics, and Recording Industries; plus Scholar Responsible for ‘Chilling Effects’

Press Releases

WASHINGTON, October 8 – BroadbandCensus.com announced the inaugural event of the Broadband Breakfast Club: a forum on Tuesday, October 14, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., about 10 years under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, at the Old Ebbitt Grill.

Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on October 12, 1998, and it was signed by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. The new law, widely known as the DMCA, was designed to usher in a new phase of the United States’ copyright laws.

The DMCA did this through two key provisions. The anti-circumvention provision was designed to offer protection to copyright holders who encrypted their works by criminalizing the act of cracking those codes. The service provider liability provision was designed as a compromise between content owners and internet providers. It created today’s framework for “notice and takedown” currently at issue in a variety of current lawsuits, including Viacom v. YouTube.

Ten years later, how well has the DMCA worked? This event, the kick-off event in the monthly “Broadband Breakfast Club” hosted by BroadbandCensus.com, is designed to bring several key stakeholders together to share perspectives on this topic:

  • Drew Clark, Executive Director, BroadbandCensus.com (Moderator)
  • Mitch Glazier, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Recording Industry Association of America
  • Michael Petricone, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Consumer Electronics Association
  • Wendy Seltzer, Practitioner in Residence, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, American University Washington College of Law; and Berkman Center for Internet Society Fellow and instigator of “Chilling Effects” resource
  • Emery Simon, Counselor, Business Software Alliance

Breakfast for registrants will be available beginning at 8:00 a.m., and the forum itself will begin at around 8:30 a.m. It will conclude promptly at 10 a.m. Seated attendance is limited to the first 45 individuals to register for the event.

Future events in the Broadband Breakfast Club monthly series will feature other key topics involved in broadband technology and internet policy.

For more information about BroadbandCensus.com, or about the Broadband Breakfast Club at Old Ebbitt Grill at 675 15th Street NW, Washington, DC – on the second Tuesday of each month – please contact Drew Clark at 202-580-8196.

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