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Wednesday, September 06, 2006, 3:48 PM

Weekly Newspaper in North Carolina Sues KKK Over Hate Leaflets

The Greensboro News and Record reports that the Rhinoceros Times -- a conservative alternative newspaper printed weekly in Greensboro and Charlotte -- is suing the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan because the KKK have been distributing racist leaflets within the Rhinoceros Times and throwing them on people's lawns. The Rhino Times claims that the KKK is committing an unfair and deceptive trade practice by distributing its leaflets in this manner because the public gets the incorrect impression that the Rhino Times supports the KKK's anti-Semitic and racist principles.

The KKK defended the way its leaflets are distributed, saying that no newspaper has perpetual ownership of its product and that, over time, anyone with copies can do with them as they please.

The News and Record also reports that one expert said that, to his knowledge, no court has ruled on the legality of the KKK's distribution method and that the Rhino lawsuit may establish a precedent.

FTC's Internet Access Task Force and Net Neutrality

On August 21, the FTC announced the formation of an Internet Access Task Force which will address important issues being raised by converging technologies and regulatory developments, and educate the Commission in its enforcement, advocacy and education initiatives. The task force will also address one of the most hotly debated issues in communications -- "network neutrality." FTC Commissioner Deborah Platt Majoras explained:
"'Network neutrality' has been variously defined and may mean different things to different people. On one level, it appears to mean that Internet users should have the freedom to access and use it as they choose, without any restriction by network providers. On another but related level, it means, at a minimum, the right of content providers to unfettered access to the many privately owned networks that comprise the Internet and may also mean that all data transmissions are assigned equal priority as they are passed along from network to network in cyberspace.

Fear of restrictions or discrimination in access has led proponents of 'net neutrality' to seek legislation that would, for example, prohibit broadband providers from discriminating against any person's ability to use a service to access or provide lawful content, from refusing to interconnect facilities with another service provider on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, or from charging a fee for prioritizing transmission of particular types of data."
Chairman Platt Majoras, however, "urge[d] caution in proceeding on the issue." She "question[ed] the starting assumption that government regulation, rather than the market itself under existing laws, will provide the best solution to a problem."

To read more of her speech, go here.

FTC To Keep Fighting Generic Settlements

In an interview with the Associated Press (available here), FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said that despite some setbacks in court, the FTC is "not walking away" from its efforts to prevent drug companies from entering into settlement agreements with generic competitors which the FTC believes are anticompetitive. These "reverse payment" settlement agreements have been the subject of much debate in antitrust circles (and have been the subject of previous posts in this blog). The FTC recently lost its attempt to seek review of the 11th Circuit's decision in Schering-Plough when the Supreme Court denied its petition for cert. Majoras said that the drug companies are not especially worried about the FTC threat because they continue to negotiate new patent settlement agreements, but "they do so at their own peril." Majoras said she is concerned that there will be even more reverse payment settlements in the future because numerous blockbuster drugs are set to lose patent protection soon. It is estimated that in the next four years, drugs with combined sales of $48 billion will lose patent protection, according to Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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