The Washington Post

The Circuit: SOPA/PIPA alternative; LightSquared; Justice confirms e-book probe

LEADING THE DAY: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is expected to unveil an alternative bill dealing with online copyright infringement Thursday, proposing that the International Trade Commission handle cases of copyright and trademark infringement by Internet sites. The bill text is in line with a discussion draft that Issa and several other lawmakers put forth as another option to the Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP Acts. It would grant the ITC the power to investigate sites that appear to “primarily” and “willfully” engage in infringing activity.

Opponents have said that tasking the commission with online infringement cases will result in the addition costs and bureaucracy and would require the support of several congressional committees to be approved.

On Wednesday, seven tech associations — including the Consumer Electronics Association — signed on to a letter urging Congress to work with stakeholders to address concerns about SOPA and PIPA before moving ahead with measures.

LightSquared: Broadband firm LightSquared released information Wednesday that appears to confirm that its terrestrial broadband network is compatible with high-precision global-positioning equipment. The firm has been fighting with the GPS industry over its right to launch the network, which has been shown to interfere with GPS spectrum.

Justice looking into e-books: At a hearing focused on antitrust oversight Wednesday, Justice Department antitrust lead Sharis Pozen confirmed that Justice is also looking into the e-book industry. Earlier this week, the European Union announced it was investigating Apple and a handful of major publishers for possibly colluding to prevent competition in the e-book industry.

FTC to hold facial recognition conference: The Federal Trade Commission is holding a conference on facial recognition software Thursday, exploring the privacy and security implications of the technology’s increased use. Google’s latest Android platform, Ice Cream Sandwich, uses facial recognition, as do several other mobile and desktop applications.

AT&T on pace for record smartphone sales: AT&T announced Wednesday that it’s expecting to break it single-quarter record for smartphone sales, in part to the strength of iPhone 4S sales. The company will also deploy its LTE network in four new cities, including New York City, in line with plans to cover 15 LTE markets by the end of 2011.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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