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Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Digital Television

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FCC Gives a Peek at Some Details for the Incentive Auction – What’s Up for TV Stations?

Posted in Broadband Report, Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
The incentive auction by which the FCC will try to get some television stations to surrender their spectrum so that it can be sold to wireless broadband users is moving forward.  A vote on the general rules to implement the auction and to repack the television band are expected to be held at the Commission’s … Continue Reading

Utah Court Enjoins Aereo Service – A Preview of the Supreme Court Decision? Could It Find Aereo to Violate Copyright Law Without Overturning the Cablevision Decision?

Posted in Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
Aereo finally lost a court decision.  The US District Court in Utah released a well-reasoned decision finding that the service, by transmitting via the Internet over-the-air TV programming to subscribers without any consent from the TV stations or their program suppliers, violated the copyrights that the stations have in their programming.  Specifically, the Court found … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decides to Review Aereo – Why This is Not the New Betamax Case

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
The Supreme Court on Friday announced that is has decided to review the decision of a US Appeals Court in New York finding that the Aereo service of retransmitting over the Internet the signals of local television stations, without permission from or payment to those stations, was legal.  We wrote about the Second Circuit Court … Continue Reading

What’s Up in Washington For Broadcasters in 2014? — Part 1, FCC Issues

Posted in AM Radio, Broadband Report, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Uncategorized
It is the beginning of another year – and a time to look ahead to look ahead at what broadcasters should expect from Washington in the coming year.  With so many issues on the table, we’ll divide the issues into two parts – talking about FCC issues today, and issues from Capitol Hill and elsewhere … Continue Reading

Mandatory Captioning of IP Delivered Clips of TV Programs? The FCC Seeks Information About Extending Internet Video Captioning Obligations

Posted in Digital Television, Internet Video, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television, Website Issues
Closed captioning of video programming repurposed to the Internet has been an obligation of television stations for over a year.  Thus far, most stations have been able to comply with the requirements – as those requirements have only applied to full programs that were captioned when broadcast over the air, and then carried over to … Continue Reading

December Regulatory Deadlines For Broadcasters – Renewals, Ownership Reports, CALM Act, and TV Form 317

Posted in Digital Television, General FCC, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
While we were sidetracked by the government shutdown in posting reminders about regulatory deadlines for broadcasters during the last two months, it’s about time to put that behind us, and to resume our monthly practice. While everyone may be looking forward to the holidays, they need to remember that December does bring a number of regulatory obligations for broadcasters … Continue Reading

Tom Wheeler Confirmed As FCC Chair – What Broadcast Issues Will the New FCC be Addressing?

Posted in Broadband Report, Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, General FCC, Indecency, Programming Regulations, Uncategorized
At long last, it appears that we will soon have a complete FCC, as the Senate has approved the nomination of Tom Wheeler to be the next FCC Chairman, and Michael O’Rielly for the other vacancy on the FCC.  The nomination of Mr. Wheeler had been held up by Senator Ted Cruz on grounds that he … Continue Reading

The Courts Continue To Split on Streaming TV Services – As Boston Court Denies TV Broadcasters Request for an Injunction Against Aereo

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media
The battle over services that record and stream over-the-air TV without compensation to TV broadcasters has become even more confusing, with a US District Court judge in Boston denying an injunction to stop the Aereo service in Massachusetts in a suit brought by Hearst Corporation, which owns a local TV station. This decision comes on the … Continue Reading

No Relief on LPTV/TV Translator Digital Conversion Deadline – 2015 Deadline for End of Analog Operations Upheld on Reconsideration

Posted in Digital Television, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Television
The FCC denied reconsideration on the last phase of the digital television transition – requiring that all LPTV stations and TV translators cease analog operations and be operating digitally by September 1, 2015. See our summary of the original ruling on the digital conversion of LPTV and TV translator stations here. In denying reconsideration, the FCC determined … Continue Reading

FCC Starts Proceeding to Consider Abolishing the UHF Discount – Effectively Lowering TV Ownership Limits?

Posted in Digital Television, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
The FCC yesterday proposed abolishing the UHF discount – which counts the audience reached by a UHF station as only one-half when computing whether the owner is approaching the 39% cap on nationwide audience that can be reached by one owner. While many FCC rulemaking proposals are very subtle, with many nuances that are important in … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comments on Reimbursable Costs of TV Stations Changing Channels as Part of Repacking of TV Spectrum for Incentive Auctions, and Announces Panels to Discuss the Process

Posted in Broadband Report, Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Television
We have not written as much as we should have about the current FCC proceeding looking to reclaim parts of the television spectrum in order to repurpose it for auction to wireless users. The process by which the FCC will pay some broadcasters to give up their spectrum (the "incentive auction"), and get the money to … Continue Reading

DC Court Issues Injunction Against FilmOn X for Its Aereo-Like TV-Streaming Service – Increasing Legal Confusion Over TV Public Performance Rights

Posted in Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
The US District Court in Washington DC issued a decision earlier this month, enjoining the operation of the television streaming service FilmOn X throughout the United States – except within the Second Circuit (covering NY) where the US Court of Appeals reached a contrary decision in connection with Aereo – a very similar service. Both of these … Continue Reading

Aereo Court Decision Permits Internet Streaming of TV Programs Without Royalties – Undermining the Public Performance Right?

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
We’ve written extensively about copyright issues for audio services, but the big copyright decision that recently made headlines is a TV issue, though one that could have an impact on audio as well. That was the Second Circuit decision in the Aereo case – upholding a lower court decision allowing a company to retransmit over-the-air TV signals … Continue Reading

FCC Imposes Freeze on Television Station Technical Improvements – Preparing for Repacking the TV Spectrum to Allow for Spectrum Auctions

Posted in Broadband Report, Digital Television, Television
With broadcasters making their way to the NAB Convention in Las Vegas, the FCC on Friday provided one topic for conversation among TV broadcasters – issuing a Public Notice imposing a freeze – effective immediately – on the filing of any technical application by any licensee or permittee of a full power TV station or a … Continue Reading

February Legal Deadlines for Broadcasters – Online Public File, Review of Incentive Auction Comments, Filing Deadline for FM Auction, and Lots of Renewals and EEO Public File Reports

Posted in Broadband Report, Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
February is almost upon us, and it brings a host of regulatory obligations for broadcasters – as well as the filing deadline for those interested in pursuing new FM channels in an upcoming auction, and a number of opportunities to comment on important FCC proceedings. The week before last, TV NewsCheck published our latest quarterly … Continue Reading

Compliance Deadline for CALM Act December 13 – FCC Allows Waiver Filings Until that Deadline

Posted in Advertising Issues, Digital Television, Television
The CALM Act, meant to end the dreaded "loud commercial," is set to go into effect tomorrow, December 13. We summarized the requirements for compliance with the Act here. Basically, TV stations must adopt certain practices set out in a series of standards known as A/85 Recommended Practice, adopted by the ATSC (the Advanced Television Standards Committee). As … Continue Reading

CALM Act Waiver Requests Due By October 12

Posted in Advertising Issues, Digital Television, Television
This Friday (October 12) is the deadline for requesting a waiver under the FCC’s Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (“CALM”) Act implementing procedures, intended to combat "loud commercials."  We wrote about the implementing rules and the obligations of television stations to come into compliance with the standards set out in the rules, adopting a protocol that … Continue Reading

FCC To Consider Incentive Auctions for TV Spectrum This Week

Posted in Broadband Report, Digital Television, Television
The FCC has released its agenda for its September meeting, and it is an important one for television broadcasters. On the agenda for the meeting to be held this Friday, September 28, is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to seek comments on its proposals to implement the Congressional authority to hold incentive auctions to clear part of the television … Continue Reading

Questions and Answers About the TV Online Public Inspection File

Posted in Digital Television, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
 The Online Public File for television stations is now a reality. While appeals of the imposition of the rules remain pending, both the FCC and the US Court of Appeals denied stays of the August 2 effective date for the new requirements, so full-power and Class A television stations should now be complying with the new … Continue Reading

FCC Asks for Comments on Whether OTARD Rules Should Limit Local Zoning Authority Restrictions on TV Antennas and Other Reception Devices in Common Areas

Posted in Digital Television, Television, Tower Issues
The over-the-air reception of television stations has taken on heightened awareness in recent years.  In the regulatory world, this prominence comes from the FCC’s consideration of taking back some of the broadcast spectrum for use by wireless broadband based at least partially on the Commission’s belief that broadcasters are not using that spectrum efficiently as many viewers,over the last … Continue Reading

On the Schedule for the April 27 FCC Meeting: Television Public Interest Obligations, TV Channel Sharing and Third-Party Fundraising by Noncommercial Broadcasters

Posted in Broadband Report, Digital Television, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Three broadcast items are tentatively scheduled for the next FCC meeting, to be held on April 27, according to the tentative agenda released today.  In one expected action, though perhaps moving more quickly than many thought possible, the FCC has indicated that it will adopt an Order in its proceeding requiring TV broadcasters to place … Continue Reading

FCC Moving Toward the Auction of TV Spectrum for Wireless – More Class A Stations To Lose Protection and No Full Power Move-Ins to Major Markets

Posted in Broadband Report, Digital Television, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
While the FCC has not yet started a proceeding to set rules for the auction of television spectrum for broadband purposes, the Commission is taking steps to clear the spectrum in other ways.  Two weeks ago, we wrote about the FCC’s actions proposing to remove the Class A designation from certain LPTV stations that had … Continue Reading

Congress Authorizes FCC Incentive Auctions to Clear Part of Broadcast TV Spectrum for Wireless Broadband Users – The Details of the Legislation

Posted in Broadband Report, Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Television
Congress finally has given to the FCC authority to conduct spectrum auctions to reclaim parts of the TV spectrum for wireless users, and most DC-based industry associations, including the NAB, have reacted favorably. For a process that was so controversial, this seems like a very favorable result. Television stations, in particular, will have much relief from concerns … Continue Reading