Digital Policy Roundup: House Cyber Week Approaching, SCOTUS to Hear Key Textbook IP Case, and DOC Unveils IP Econ Report

Congress Returns, Next Week is House “Cyber Week”
With Congress back from the Easter recess, there is much activity ongoing for “cyber week,” beginning on April 23. During the week, several cybersecurity bills are expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote, including: H.R. 2096 – Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, Rep. McCaul (R-TX), H.R. 3834 – Advancing America’s Networking and IT R&D Act, Rep. Hall (R-TX), H.R. 3523 – Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, Rogers (R-MI), H.R. 4257 – Federal Information Security Amendments Act, Issa (R-CA). In preparation for next week, Rep. Rogers continues to explore amendments to his legislation to address concerns raised by the civil liberties watchdogs, and the Homeland Security Committee is also scheduled to consider additional information sharing legislation Wednesday morning, H.R. 3674- Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act, legislation that the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lungren (R-CA) is seeking to have considered.

Supreme Court to Hear Key Textbook “First Sale” Copyright Case
This week, the Supreme Court decided to hear the copyright case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc., a key case for SIIA members focused on whether the copyright law’s “first sale doctrine” applies when the copyrighted work–here a foreign edition of a textbook–is made and sold outside the United States and then imported into the United States. The case at issue involves a student from Thailand who attempted to subsidize his expenses by having friends and family members send him foreign editions of textbooks, which he would then sell online. If the Supreme Court affirms the lower courts by holding that the first sale defense does not apply, the unauthorized distribution and sale of a copyrighted work here would constitute a copyright infringement.

Department of Commerce Releases IP Economic Report
As we reported last week, on April 11, the Department released a report titled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” which estimates the economic impact of IP related industries on the U.S. economy. The report, which was prepared by the Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was initiated as part of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s (IPEC) 2010 Joint Strategic Plan to create a comprehensive study to better understand the role of IP in the economy and to inform policy decisions related to IP enforcement. In response, SIIA issued a statement hailing the Report as evidence that IP is essential to the creation of American jobs and growth and underscores the critical importance of adequately protecting the software and digital content industries.

ICANN Extends Window for gTLD Applications
Last week, ICANN extended the window for submitting applications for new gTLDs from April 12 to April 20, because of a technical issue effecting the performance of the TLD Application System (TAS). April 30 remains the target date for ICANN to publish the applied-for new domain names, but this is subject to change.

Ninth Circuit Rules on Reach of CFAA
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court, in US v. Nosal reached a decision in a highly-anticipated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) case, that Nosal’s acts did not violate the CFAA, concluding that the “plain language of the CFAA ‘target[s] the unauthorized procurement or alteration of information, not misuse or misappropriation’” and more significantly that “the CFAA does not extend to violations of use restrictions.” In the case, the U.S. brought criminal charges under the CFAA against a former employee for “exceed[ing] authorized access” to his former company’s computers for the purpose of obtaining and using company information in violation of the terms of the company’s computer use policy.

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David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy.

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