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TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The House Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee will hold a potentially controversial hearing during its review of copyright law at 9:30 a.m. The panel will study the "notice-and-takedown" provision that empowers copyright holders to demand that sites delete allegedly infringing material. The Senate Homeland Security Committee will vote at 9:55 a.m. on the nomination of L. Reginald Brothers, Jr. to be the undersecretary for science and technology at DHS. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify on his department's budget before the House Homeland Security Committee at 2:00 p.m.
SCOOP: FEINSTEIN TO INTRODUCE PATENT BILL: The Patent Fee Integrity Act, which could be unveiled as soon as today, would aim to establish a protection fund at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a source working closely on patent-litigation reform efforts told National Journal. The bill aims to take the PTO off the budget to prevent withholding or diversion of user fees that the office collects—an issue that was championed by John Conyers, House Judiciary's top Democrat, but ultimately failed to take off.
Feinstein hopes to introduce the bill with backing from Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and GOP Sens. Jeff Flake and Tom Coburn, according to the source. The legislation arrives as the Senate Judiciary has pledged to list bipartisan legislation by the end of the month, meaning a markup for early April.
STELA GETS PARTISAN: Top Democrats aren't on board with Republicans' draft bill to reauthorize the satellite-TV law known as STELA. During a House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Reps. Henry Waxman, Anna Eshoo, and Doris Matsui all said they don't support the draft, but they hope to work with Republicans to reach a compromise.
The Democrats criticized a provision that would limit the FCC's ability to crack down on joint sales deals between broadcasters and a provision that would repeal a security standard for cable boxes. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton emphasized that the bill is "not the venue for comprehensive reform" and that members should reserve significant proposals for the panel's upcoming rewrite of the Communications Act. Very little of the hearing focused on the core purpose of STELA—providing broadcast channels to satellite TV customers in remote areas.
SENATE PLANS STELA HEARING: The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the upper chamber's review of the satellite law, which expires at the end of the year, with a hearing on March 26. The panel has delayed its hearing on the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable until April 2.
SENATE SPY WARS: THE REPUBLICANS STRIKE BACK: Partisan battle lines are solidifying a day after Dianne Feinstein delivered a blistering speech accusing the CIA of interfering with the Intelligence Committee's investigation into the spy agency's Bush-era interrogation tactics. Along with Feinstein, Mark Udall is also now the target of GOP ire after he threatened to hold up the nomination of Caroline Krass for CIA general counsel. Republicans are privately suggesting Udall should be subject to an ethics review for disclosing the panel's activities during its investigation—a charge the Colorado Democrat denies.
Saxby Chambliss, the panel's top Republican, took to the chamber floor Wednesday night to again rebuff Feinstein's bombshell allegations. "Although people speak as though we know all of the pertinent facts regarding this matter, the truth is, we do not," he said, adding that Republicans were not involved in the committee staff's investigation.
Outside of Congress, presidential spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that CIA Director John Brennan and the CIA's top lawyer told White House attorneys in advance about the agency's plan to file a criminal complaint against the Intel Committee, but "there was no comment, there was no weighing in, there was no judgment."
COURT REVERSES NSA DATA LIMIT: The FISA Court has reversed its earlier decision and will allow the NSA to hold phone data longer than five years. The ruling comes after a federal court ordered the NSA to preserve the data due to a motion from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS GRAPPLE WITH ONLINE SALES TAX: The Judiciary Committee heard a number of alternative proposals to the Senate-passed Marketplace Fairness Act, but reached no consensus on what any legislation will look like going forward. Chairman Bob Goodlatte did not indicate a timeline for moving a bill, and while some Democrats called for swift action, others think it will have to wait until after the November elections. (Brown, NJ)
GOODLATTE TELLS SENATE TO PASS PATENT REFORM: And they should take a note from his House-passed Innovation Act, because "half measures and inaction are not viable options," the House Judiciary chairman wrote in a Roll Call op-ed.
GOOGLE ENCRYPTION HAS GLOBAL RAMIFICATIONS: Protected searches affect the NSA, but also pose a new challenge to China's "Great Firewall" of online censorship. (Timberg/Yang, WaPo)
SNOWDEN FILES: NSA INFECTED COMPUTERS WITH FACEBOOK DOPPELGANGER: But the company denied any knowledge of the malware technique reported Wednesday on Glenn Greenwald's new Intercept channel, saying it possessed "no evidence" of the activity and that its HTTPS protocol, fully integrated last year, protects against such efforts. (Volz, NJ)
PENTAGON WANTS TO AVOID 'GRAVITY II': Military officials told Congress that investing in programs to track space debris is essential to future missions. (Brown, NJ)
GAO: COMPETITION COULD MAKE SPACE MISSIONS CHEAPER: The Government Accountability Office testified Wednesday that allowing companies to challenge a Boeing-Lockheed monopoly on launching the military's satellites could lead to lower prices. (Brown, NJ)
ROCKEFELLER: '.SUCKS' SUCKS: Sen. Jay Rockefeller urged ICANN to reject the Web domain ".sucks," warning it could be used for extortion. (Sasso, NJ)