In June of 2005, chip manufacturer AMD filed an antitrust lawsuit against industry giant Intel for monoplistic practices including strongarm tactics, monetary offers, and threats against vendors and manufacturers that used AMD chips. Alleging it’s rivals’ strategy have hurt it’s fair share of the market, the company pushed for a speedy trial and if it succeeds will begin in late 2006.
In the early days of the internet, websites were becoming increasingly more interactive with visitors, allowing users to download games, join discussion groups, exchange email and more. In the course of these developments, websites began collecting information about these users either through voluntary means such as filling out a form or through the use of technologies like cookies. As the internet became more and more accessible, children began using it in greater numbers. Concerned by this trend, the FTC released a report to the U.S. Congress expressing these issues. It noted that there were a rapidly growing number of websites with children as their target audience, and that many were gathering personally identifiable information from them without the parent or guardian’s knowledge. Not only did the FTC have a problem with this, but so did many children’s advocacy groups. In response, Senator Richard Bryan introduced the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act on July 17th, 1998.
After hearings, the bill was quickly passed through Congress and enacted as law in late 1998. Responsibility for enforcement was given to the FTC, which began a rulemaking process during which it invited many corporations involved in information collecting. The American Library Association and the ACLU also submitted input. On November 3, 1999 the FTC issued it’s final rule on COPPA.
You can view a copy of the law here: <a href=”http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm”>http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm</a>
In a landmark decision issued on June 26,1997, the Supreme Court held that the Communications Decency Act violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. The Court’s opinion, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, resoundingly rejects censorship of the on-line medium and establishes the fundamental principles that will guide judicial consideration of the Internet for the 21st Century.
The Act was Congress’ first attempt to censor speech online. Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens held that “the CDA places an unacceptably heavy burden on protected speech” and found that all provisions of the CDA are unconstitutional as they apply to “indecent” or “patently offensive” speech. In a separate concurrence, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor agreed that the provisions of the CDA are all unconstitutional except in their narrow application to “communications between an adult and one or more minors.”
The Communications Decency Act was passed in February 1996. The CDA imposed broadcast-style content regulation. Although well intentioned, the CDA was ineffective and failed to recognize the unique nature of this global, decentralized medium.
In 1992, a judge ruled against Apple Computer in it’s copyright infringement case against Microsoft. Apple claimed that parts of the Windows graphical user interface were part of the Macintosh, and filed suit against Microsoft in the mid 80s. Microsoft contended in trial that large parts of the interface were theirs under a contract agreement between the two companies in 1985, which the court agreed with. This left only ten features of the original Mac GUI that Apple claimed Microsoft had no right to use.
This led to an analytical dissection of the elements in the interface and each got a separate ruling on whether they were considered an idea or legally protected copyrighted material. Apple was forced to rely on a defense based on the “look and feel” of the operating system, but the careful comparison made by Judge Vaughn Walker ran contrary to that idea. He ruled on August 7th that none of the features were considered protected under copyright law, effectively dismissing the case against Microsoft.
Introduced by the U.S. Government on June 19th, 1934, the federal Communications Act created laws governing the use of and regulation of interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio. It officially changed the Federal Radio Commission to the Federal Communications Commission and gave enforcement to the FCC from the Interstate Commerce Commission.
The Act combined previous laws such as the Federal Radio Act of 1927 and the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910. It was enacted as Public Law Number 416 by the 73rd Congress and its purpose was to regulate interstate and foreign commerce by wire and radio in order to make it available to all people in the U.S. rapidly and efficiently. The wording of the act also officially created the FCC. On Jan. 3rd, 1996, the 104th Congress amended much of this act with a new Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was the first change in telco policy in over 62 years.