SIIA’s Keith Kupferschmid Weighs in on Kirtsaeng v. Wiley on HuffPo Live

SCOTUS was undeterred by Hurricane Sandy yesterday, holding arguments in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley while most of Washington hunkered down for the storm. The landmark case involves the legality of purchasing copyrighted works overseas and selling them here in the U.S. without authorization from the publisher. SIIA’s Keith Kupferschmid joined HuffPo Live to explain how the case threatens the U.S. information industry–wrapping up his segment just minutes before losing power.

Watch the full segment:

The justices seemed fairly split on the case during the argument. Wiley’s counsel, Ted Olson, reiterated a critical point made in SIIA’s amicus brief – that there are many of exceptions in the Copyright Act, including the Fair Use Defense, which can be used to prevent the concerns raised by the appellant.

We believe that the First Sale Doctrine should not apply to materials made and sold overseas. It threatens to severely undermine U.S. companies’ ability to compete in foreign markets. Ultimately, we hope that the Court will be convinced by the very real argument that both publishers and consumers will face direct harm if our markets are allowed to be flooded with copyrighted material that was intended for purchase overseas. American consumers will be defrauded into buying products that may be inferior or otherwise very different from those intended for U.S. markets, while confronting higher prices in the long run. Meanwhile, consumers and students abroad will lose access to valuable U.S. resources that were created for them.

Laura Greenback is Communications Director at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Public Policy team at @SIIAPolicy.

This Week in Public Sector Innovation

Top IT Trends, Part I: Regardless of who wins the Presidential election on November 6th, we know technology will be driving a large part of the economy for years to come. So what will be driving technology for the next 5 years? This week, Gartner released its top 10 list of tech trends that will be driving the agenda. It includes:

  • Organizational entrenchment and disruption
  • Software-defined networks
  • Bigger data and storage
  • Hybrid cloud services
  • Client and server architecture

For the full list see the report from Forbes.

Top IT Trends, Part II: Now that we know what the top overall IT trends are for the next five years, what can we expect for government in 2013? According to the Government Business Council, the research arm of GovExec, it’s more of what we have been seeing over the past couple of years. That means: cloud, big data, data center consolidation, mobility, cybersecurity and health IT. Read the full report here.

OMB reporting big savings from PortfolioStat: OMB savings estimates resulting from the coordinated effort to identify and eliminate wasteful IT spending across government will total $2.5B over 3 years as a result of PortfolioStat. The savings come by reducing federal commodity IT spending and leveraging innovative tools like big data to maximize the efficiency of existing IT resources. See more on the OMB blog.

Sequestration makes its way into final Presidential debate: As Washington continues to try and figure out the potential impact of “sequestration” on agency budgets, should Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal to avoid it, President Obama vowed Monday night that it would not happen. The proposed cuts, totaling $120B, which go into effect on January 2nd, are already reportedly slowing contracting by some agencies, as uncertainty causes concern. Politico has a story.

Michael Hettinger is VP for the Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) at SIIA. Follow his PSIG tweets at @SIIAPSIG.

This Week in Public Sector Innovation

Federal News Radio CIO Survey: In August Federal News Radio survey 130 federal CIO personnel on key issues affecting government IT today. Among the key findings: budget issues are driving CIO priorities, DOD views cloud differently than do civilian agencies (they see more savings), and many CIOs are concerned about the impact of sequestration on IT spending. See the full summary from here.

George Washington University hosts discussion on Rep. Issa’s IT reform proposal: On Thursday, GWU’s Law School hosted an open discussion on House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Chairman Darrell Issa’s proposed reform of the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act, which governs federal IT acquisition. The proposal, which is not expected to be introduced until early next year, would empower federal CIOs by giving them budget authority, as well as codifying a number of the Obama Administrations proposals from the 25 Point Plan to Reform Federal IT Management such as data center consolidation and FedRAMP. Ecommerce Times has a story. See the draft bill on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee site.

FedRAMP continues to make progress, news: FCW / 1105 Media released a report this week on the challenges of implementing the FedRAMP program. FedRAMP, which reached its initial operating capabilities in June has not yet approved a single Cloud Service Provider under the program. FedRAMP has approved 15 third party assessment organizations (3PAOS) to work with CSPs to meet the baseline control requirements and expects to grant provisional authorization to 3 CSPs by the end of this year. Read more with a link to the survey here.

Michael Hettinger is VP for the Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) at SIIA. Follow his PSIG tweets at @SIIAPSIG.

Digital Policy Roundup: FTC Announces Online Privacy Workshop on Consumer Data, U.S. Internet Governance Delegation Formed, Update on Proposed Net Traffic Proposal, and more

FTC Announces Online Privacy Workshop on Consumer Data

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Monday that it will host a workshop in December to explore the practices and privacy implications of comprehensive collection of data about consumers’ online activities. The Workshop follows up on the FTC’s March 2012 report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change, which called on companies handling consumer data to implement recommendations for protecting consumers’ privacy, including privacy by design, providing simplified privacy choices to consumers, and greater transparency to consumers about data collection and use. The FTC is encouraging consumer protection organizations, academics, business and industry representatives, privacy professionals, and other interested parties to attend, and has solicited input for specific topics and requests to participate in panels. SIIA will submit a request to participate in this workshop.

U.S. Internet Governance Delegation Formed, Update on Proposed Net Traffic Proposal

The U.S. has fully formed its delegation to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), consisting of 100 members from government, industry and civilians, with representatives from the Defense and Commerce departments, the FCC, FTC and NTIA, he said. Industry representatives come from both the telecom and Internet industries. Mark MacCarthy, Vice President of Public Policy at SIIA and adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture and Technology Program, has been named to serve as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the WCIT.

Other recent announcements from WCIT Ambassador Kramer include an update that the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) is likely to withdraw its controversial Internet traffic compensation proposal, but is now considering another proposed revision to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) that would, among other things, establish a “sender-party-pays” model for Internet traffic compensation that could require the sender of any Internet content to pay for its transmission.

Publishers, Google Settle Book Dispute

On October 4th, several book publishers (McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, John Wiley & Sons, and Simon & Schuster) and Google announced that they had settled their seven-year dispute over copyright infringement issues relating to Google’s book search program. While the announcement says that Google “acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright-holders,” it is silent as to the terms of the settlement, and more specifically Google’s views on whether unauthorized scanning and indexing of works constitutes fair use. The announcement did state that, under the settlement, a publisher may opt to have Google remove its works from the Google Book Search database and those publishers that choose to keep their works in the database may request copies of electronic versions of their works from Google. It is unclear if there was any payment made by either party as the terms of the agreement are confidential, and because the deal is a private settlement, there will be no public settlement document. The announcement also said that the settlement need not be approved by the court. Although the publishers have now settled, the Authors Guild has continued their suit against Google as a class action suit.

Senate Leader Confirms Cyber Will Again Come up in Nov.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) confirmed over the weekend [ ] that the Senate will again consider cybersecurity legislation (The Cybersecurity Act, S. 3414) when it returns for its “lame duck” session in November. The legislation failed to garner the necessary 60 votes to advance in August, but supporters appear optimistic that the less politicized environment and looming threat of the Administration’s executive order on cybersecurity will help garner additional support from Republicans. Of course, any speculations about the outcome of that process should be held until after the elections, as changes in administration or congressional leadership in either body could have a significant effect on the lame duck strategy.

SIIA Federal Cloud Survey Goes Live

Last week SIIA’s Public Sector Innovation Group launched its inaugural Federal Cloud Survey, seeking to aggregate data on the federal government’s progress in adopting cloud computing, mobile technologies, and data center consolidation. Federal government IT professionals are encouraged to have their voice heard by responding to the survey, which can be found here. The findings of the survey will be published as part of SIIA’s Cloud/Gov Conference in Washington, DC on February 12, 2013. Learn more about Cloud/Gov here.

For SIIA policy updates including upcoming events, news and analysis, subscribe to SIIA’s weekly policy email newsletter, Digital Policy Roundup.

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.

The European Cloud Computing Strategy: A Promising Step

Today, the European Commission announced the release of its long-awaited cloud strategy in a communication entitled “Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe.” The Commission clearly recognizes cloud computing’s capacity to allow people, businesses and governments to rent services and data storage for much cheaper than buying new equipment and software. Indeed, combined with the emergence of big data analytics, cloud computing represents a sea-change in the business and technical opportunities for the information technology industry and its myriad customers, business and consumer, large and small. The Commission’s strategy report is a major step forward by policymakers in coming to grips with the policy thinking needed to foster this new development and to deal with its many challenges in Europe and around the world.

SIIA particularly welcomes the Commission’s focus on the use of cloud computing in government. The Commission’s encouragement of the use of cloud computing is the counterpart of the US government’s Cloud First approach.

Unfortunately, some parts of the Commission’s communication go in a direction SIIA warned against in its report to policy makers last year. In places, the communication treats cloud computing as a discrete entity that is potentially subject to specific government regulation. In reality, cloud computing is a variety of evolving business and technical developments that share only a rough similarity. NIST has described three different service models for cloud computing (Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service); and four different deployment models (private, community, public and hybrid). There is also the enormous difference between consumer uses of cloud computing and its business uses, and within the latter, still further important differences between uses by large organizations and by small and medium sized businesses. Cloud computing is used in industries ranging from financial services, to energy to telecommunications.

The European Commission’s cloud strategy document recognizes this issue, noting that cloud computing has a “range of defining features (which make a general definition elusive)…” Despite this it goes on to propose a series of government regulations that can be effectively implemented only if there is a reasonably precise legal definition of cloud computing.

Privacy rules, security rules, intellectual property, and consumer protection rules apply when cloud computing is used, but there is no need for special privacy, security, intellectual property or consumer protection rules that apply just to cloud computing. Generalized rules, indeed, globally interoperable rules, are best suited to the global, borderless nature of cloud computing.

Some of the specific suggestions in the report are good in themselves. This is the case for example in the idea that security guidelines should be developed that take into account the special characteristics of cloud computing. But again there is no need for European regulations that mandate specific security requirements just for cloud computing. Security standards should be market-driven and global, not just European, in character

Another concern is the possible development of privacy rules just for the cloud. The Commission and the Parliament are working on a new data protection regulation that would apply across the board, but the cloud strategy suggests the development of alternative or competing privacy rules just for cloud computing.

The Commission also seems to be interested in mandating specific consumer protections such as data portability, interoperability and reversibility in standardized service level agreements. But it is a leap to jump from a concern for consumer protection to the conclusion that specific European consumer protection rules need to be incorporated into standardized terms of service. Industry groups, not European-wide regulators, are best situated to fill any perceived need for optional model contracts.

SIIA welcomes the Commission’s strategy and intends to engage in the process of working with the Commission to see that the benefits of cloud computing are fully realized in the European single market and throughout the world.

Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology. Follow the SIIA Public Policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy

SIIA Announces Five Recommendations to Make Federal IT Reform a Reality

SIIA’s Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) today released an authoritative guide to help Federal CIOs and IT companies work together to effectively transition to a new cloud-based environment. SIIA crafted the guide to provide specific recommendations for fostering the development of the cloud in the Federal government and harnessing its full economic potential.

PSIG released the guide as part of the NIST Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop beginning today, and to coincide with the June 9th deadline for the 18-month deliverables for the 25 Point Plan to Reform Federal IT.

With budgets tightening, and the 25 Point Plan deadline looming, this is a critical time for Federal IT reform. Working closely with both Federal IT executives and so many companies that do business with the government gives us a unique perspective on the future of IT reform. At this important time, our goal is to help focus attention on what we see as the core priorities.

This guide provides recommendations around many of the central opportunities and challenges that are being debated among leaders in both the public and private sectors. We believe the development of a comprehensive IT strategy roadmap, along with consistent implementing guidance, will allow agencies to prioritize IT initiatives in order to make the original vision of the 25 Point Plan a reality.

The report offers five key recommendations for Federal decision makers:

1. Continue to promote the “Cloud First” policy developed in 2010
2. OMB and GSA should work together and with industry to remove barriers to effective planning and procurement.
3. Promote changes to federal acquisition process and culture that to ensure they keep pace with technology
4. Lower the barrier of market entry for small businesses
5. Develop a comprehensive Federal IT strategy roadmap

The full report, which includes detailed discussion of each recommendation, is available here.

Michael Hettinger is VP for the Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) at SIIA. Follow his PSIG tweets at @SIIAPSIG.

SIIA, Industry Gather at White House to Pledge Leadership Role in Stopping Botnets

At a White House event today, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) expressed a commitment to working with the Administration to address the growing dangers posed by botnets. SIIA is part of a multi-industry group that today announced its Principles for Voluntary Efforts to Reduce the Impact of Botnets in Cyberspace. SIIA President Ken Wasch and representatives of other industry groups were joined by Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, other administration officials and industry leaders including Michael DeCeasare CEO of McAfee.

As the leading organization representing software and digital media companies, SIIA and its members are at the forefront of the fight against botnets and other forms of Internet security threats. For example, McAfee provides a suite of tools for consumers and businesses to keep their systems free of infections and to remove malware and botnets from their infected systems. And Google recently launched a notification effort for users of computers and routers infected with the DNSChanger malware.

SIIA is committed to addressing botnet security threats by working collaboratively with the government and by promoting the work of our members. It is vital that industry and government work together to ensure that public policy encourages private sector innovation and flexibility. After all, it is the products and tools produced by companies such as McAfee and Google that are empowering consumers and businesses to fight Internet security threats.

To that aim, SIIA is part of the Industry Botnet Group (“IBG”), which was formed earlier this year to collaborate on and encourage voluntary efforts to reduce the effectiveness of botnets. Botnets infect computers, threatening the trust and confidence of online users and undermining the efficiencies and economic growth spurred by the Internet. The IBG’s principles call on Internet participants to coordinate and communicate with each other and voluntarily work to fight the effectiveness of botnets across the botnet lifecycle. More information is available at

Ken WaschKen Wasch is President of SIIA.

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