Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Assessing Control of the Noncommercial Broadcaster – FCC Looks to Board of Directors

Posted in Noncommercial Broadcasting
How do you determine who is control of a noncommercial broadcaster governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Directors?  That question was addressed in a recent FCC decision, dismissing an application for a new noncommercial FM station that had not properly disclosed its owners on its FCC Form 340 application. In that case, the applicant had reported to the FCC that … Continue Reading

SoundExchange Seeks Permission to Distribute Royalties Based on Proxy Information

Posted in Internet Radio, Music Rights
What should SoundExchange do with money that it collects for the performance of sound recordings, when it does not know what sound recordings were played by a particular service?  As we’ve written many times on this blog, SoundExchange collects royalties from digital music services , including satellite radio, cable radio and webcasters, for the performance of … Continue Reading

FCC to Review Video Programming Marketplace; Requests Data on MVPDs, Broadcast TV, and Online Video Providers

Posted in Digital Television, Internet Video, Television
The FCC is taking a close look at the video programming marketplace and gathering data that will undoubtedly shape its rules and policies in the coming years.  Its review comes in the form of a periodic assessment of the multichannel video programming industry required by the Communications Act.  By its Further Notice of Inquiry issued … Continue Reading

FCC Decides to Appeal Indency Cases to Supreme Court

Posted in FCC Fines, Indecency
The FCC’s indecency rules have, in recent months, twice been declared unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – essentially finding that the FCC’s policies imposed unconstitutional restrictions on speech as they did not give broadcasters any way of determining what was permitted and what was prohibited.  After seeking several extensions of … Continue Reading

FCC Makes Clear It Doesn’t Regulate Formats – Rejects Petition Against Sale of Noncommercial Station

Posted in Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The sale of a noncommercial radio station is often controversial, especially when it’s clear that the format of the station will change after the transfer.  In a decision released last week denying a Petition to Deny challenging the application for the sale of KTRU, the noncommercial radio station owned by Rice University, the FCC again made … Continue Reading

SoundExchange Claims Credit for Shutting Down Webcaster Who Was Not Paying Royalties

Posted in Internet Radio
SoundExchange claims on its website that webcaster SWCast.net was shut down when SoundExchange complained to its ISP that the service was not paying royalties for the use of the music played by the site.  SWCast was an aggregator of webcast channels created by other individuals, who paid the company – allegedly for the streaming and … Continue Reading

Fines of $9000 for Public File Violations Upheld, But FCC Asks if the Paperwork Burden of the Public File is Justified

Posted in FCC Fines
Last week, in a frenzy of cleaning up issues left from old license renewal applications, the FCC upheld several $9000 fines for public file violations – most in connection with the failure of licensees to have a complete set of Quarterly Programs Issues lists ("QPIs") in those files.  The broadcasters who were fined came up … Continue Reading

Donald Trump May Declare Presidential Candidacy on The Apprentice – FCC Legal Issues?

Posted in Political Broadcasting
This past week’s political news seemed to be all about Donald Trump and his possible run for the Presidency – and his plans to announce his intent to run on the season finale of The Apprentice.  When, a week ago, we wrote about the President declaring his candidacy, there was little interest in our post, and there seemed … Continue Reading

As Broadcasters Return From NAB Convention, FCC Extends Date for Comments on Policies Leading to Repurposing TV Spectrum for Broadband

Posted in Broadband Report, Digital Television, Television
The FCC has granted a one week extension for reply comments in the proceeding looking to take many of the preliminary steps toward incentive auctions by which the FCC would reclaim parts of television spectrum for use by wireless broadband companies.  Comments are now due on April 25.  We wrote about the many issues in this proceeding, … Continue Reading

Pandora Gets Subpoena About Mobile App – Privacy, the Next Big Issue for Digital Media Companies

Posted in On Line Media, Privacy
As broadcasters pursue their digital future, new legal issues arise to greet their entry into the on-line world and to add to the challenges posed by the new media. Over the last few years, we’ve have written extensively about music rights and their impact on webcasters, broadcasters, and other digital media companies. We’ve talked about patent … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Plan for Orderly Shutdown in the Event that No Agreement on Federal Funding is Reached By Midnight

Posted in General FCC
[Update - 4/9/2011.  Based on the announcement late last night, the Federal government will not be closing on Monday.  But the agreement that was reached yesterday still needs to be documented and voted on by the House and Senate.  But, barring an unforeseen breakdown in the deal, these shutdown instructions can be shelved - at … Continue Reading

President Obama Declares Candidacy – What Political Broadcasting Rules Should Broadcasters Be Considering Now?

Posted in Political Broadcasting
With the President declaring his candidacy for reelection in 2012, broadcasters thoughts may be turning to that election and the expected flood of money that may come into the political process.  But visions of next year’s elections should not be distracting broadcasters from their current political broadcasting obligations.  I’ve received many calls this year about whether … Continue Reading

FCC Sets Comment Date on Draft Rules for Processing Tower Registrations to Assess The Impact of Communications Towers on Migratory Birds

Posted in Tower Issues
The FCC has released the comment dates for its draft rules setting out when Environmental Assessments are needed to formally evaluate the environmental impact of the construction and major alteration of communications towers.  We wrote about these draft rules here, and described their history -  growing out of concerns by conservation groups about the effects of communications towers on migratory … Continue Reading

Comment Deadline on Video Description Rulemaking Extended

Posted in Digital Television, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC has granted an extension of time to submit comments in its proceeding to re-institute video description rules for television programming.  Comments are now due April 28th, and Reply Comments are due by May 27th.  A copy of the FCC’s recent Order extending the deadline is available here.  As we wrote about earlier (here), … Continue Reading