The Circuit: AT&T/T-Mobile merger, online piracy, ICANN’s gTLD program

LEADING THE DAY: The Washington Post took a look at how AT&T and T-Mobile appear to have fumbled their bid for a merger, but the companies were handed another setback following a court hearing with Judge Ellen Huvelle to discuss the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block the $39 billion deal. AT&T, which withdrew its application for the merger from Federal Communications Commission, said that it will concentrate on its case with Justice. But, the Justice department argued, without an application at the FCC, “there’s no case.”

Huvelle also expressed skepticism about the company’s plan, saying that its choices have the “slight aura of using the court.”

Lines drawn over SOPA, OPEN: More stakeholders are weighing in over the competing online piracy bills under discussion by lawmakers in the House and Senate, the Hill reported, after a group of lawmakers including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) unveiled the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) this past week. The Stop Online Piracy Bill, also known as SOPA is expected to come up for markup this week, amid a firestorm of criticism over how the bill chooses to block rogue Web sites.

Schools buy up .xxx domain names: Universities are buying up .xxx domains in an effort to stop their institutions’ names from being associated with adult Web sites, the Associated Press reported. The .xxx domain opened for sale last week, following a decision from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to create the new top-level domain for Web site with adult content. Universities such as Kansas University, Ball State University and Purdue University have spend thousands to protect their images.

ICANN hearing: The debate over .xxx comes ahead of a larger debate about the group’s plan to open up top-level domain names to include virtually all words, meaning it will be likely to see domain names such as .apple or .microsoft. Last week, Federal Trade Commission Chairman John Leibowitz criticized the plan in a House Judiciary hearing, saying it could be disastrous for consumers. The House subcommittee on communications and technology will hold a hearing ICANN’s top-level domain program Thursday.

HP sends webOS to open source: Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman announced Friday that the company will make its webOS system open source, exposing the code of the platform to developer community. The company said that it will continue to provide some support to devices running webOS, though it’s unclear, exactly, how much more development the company will invest in the platform.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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