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Bill would set timetable for unlicensed operation, deferred by FCC in April. The crack electrical engineers and spectrum policy experts elected to the U.S. Congress are considering a bill called the Wi-Fi Innovation Act. Readers may recall that the FCC proposed to add rules for Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) operation on 5.85-5.925 GHz at one watt output power. (U-NII overlaps with Wi-Fi and serves many of the same purposes.) The proposed use would share spectrum with “Dedicated Short Range Communications” (DSRC), authorized in 2004 for automatic communications among vehicles and between vehicles and roadside points, to facilitate safety and the movement...
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Webinar on new filing interface for Form 477 to be held on August 6; FCC releases link to Form 477 filing resources. As we reported last month, the new Form 477 filing interface implemented as part of the Commission’s expansion of the Form 477 Data Program goes live on July 31. And as the FCC promised, additional Form 477 guidance – consisting of several web pages with instructions, resources, system guides, background information – is now available to prospective filers on the FCC’s website. (Cautionary note: While the FCC has indeed set up potentially useful web pages, it has included on those...
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Calling all media-related folks interested in getting in on the ground floor of a new opportunity. The Top Level Domain (TLD) “.media” is now available. Come one, come all. For the measly sum of $39.99, you could lay claim to your own private piece of the Internet labeled “[YOURNAME].media”. (That assumes, of course, that that particular domain name hasn’t already been scooped up.) Check with your favorite registrar to see if they’re offering “.media” registrations; if they’re not, we know for sure that GoDaddy is. We have previously written about the impending arrival...
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Copyright Office seeks more input in proceeding as it considers possible overhaul of the music licensing system. As readers should know by now, the long-stable music licensing  system may soon be in flux. Nearly every aspect of the licensing process is under scrutiny – even attack – on several fronts, and the possibility of change looms large. Of course, you’ve got your Congressional hearings, which could lead to changes in the Copyright Act. Then you’ve got the Department of Justice review of the decades-old consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI (remember, SESAC isn’t subject to a consent decree). And the Copyright Office...
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Video Division forfeiture order shows flexibility, but not necessarily in a good way One thing you can say about the FCC: If they think they’ve caught a licensee in a violation, they can be persistent in their efforts to impose penalties for that violation. Whether those efforts are entirely consistent with the law is another question entirely. With respect to any fine it issues, the Commission must consider the relevant statute of limitations. FCC forfeitures are subject to two separate such statutes. First, under Section 503 of the Communications Act, it can levy forfeitures for actions going back to the beginning of...
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Court holds that USF funds, administered by a private corporation, are not “federal funds” within meaning of False Claims Act. One weapon in the government’s anti-fraud arsenal – the False Claims Act – will no longer be available to the Feds in their efforts to combat bogus claims made to the Universal Service Fund (USF) if a recent decision out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sticks. The USF, of course, is the multi-billion dollar cash reservoir used to subsidize a variety of programs designed to assure that all Americans have affordable access to essential telecommunications services. Created...
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Open Internet comments have passed the seven-figure mark, but one in particular sticks out. Update: Word is that the total number of comments filed in the net neutrality proceeding leapt from around 650,000 the day before the original comment deadline, to more than 1,000,000 by the end of the extended comment period. First, congrats to those of you who guessed right in your office’s over/under on the comment total – but don’t get too cocky. There are still a couple of months’ worth of reply comments yet to show up, so be sure to read the fine print on your internal...
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More developments in the realm of Internet retransmission of OTA signals. Aereo – the gift that keeps on giving, at least when it comes to blogworthy content. As we reported, after it got its clock cleaned at the Supreme Court, Aereo bounced back with Plan B, which amounted to declaring itself (a) a cable system and, thus, (b) eligible for the compulsory copyright license granted to cable systems. But you can’t just say “I’m a cable system” and expect anybody to believe you. So Aereo went ahead with some of the paperwork required of f’real cable operators; among other things, it...
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Uncertainty created by upcoming TV repacking brings call for uniform, blanket extension. If you’re holding onto a construction permit for an unbuilt digital low power television (LPTV) or TV translator station, listen up. The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (ATBA) has asked the FCC for a blanket extension (or rule waiver) – to September 1, 2015 – to complete construction of such stations. And the Media Bureau has now requested comments on ATBA’s proposal (which was filed last February). Although all full power television stations had to convert to digital operation in 2009, in 2011, in 2011 the FCC extended the deadline for...
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Commission invites preliminary comments on 18-month old petition for establishment of new class of FM station. A proposal to shoe-horn in another class of FM station between existing Classes A and C3 has taken a small but at least observable step ahead. We wrote about the proposal back when it first walked in the door at the FCC in January, 2013. Essentially, the idea is that the FM spectrum could be put to more efficient use if a new class of station – proposed ominous name: Class C4 – were to be established with maximum ERP of 12 kW and maximum...
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On the agenda: How to take advantage of the new Top Level Domains now coming available, and how to identify and avoid potential problems As we have advised our readers repeatedly, new generic Top Level Domains are here, NOW, and more are coming online every day. And NOW is the time to learn about them: what they are, how to get them, how you can use them. If you’re looking for an introduction into the brave new world of new gTLDs, here’s your chance. Internet gurus Kathy Kleiman and Kevin Goldberg will be presenting a webinar on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at...
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Back in April we reported on the adoption of service rules to govern AWS-3 service on 65 MHz of repurposed spectrum, and then last month we noted the publication of the FCC’s action in the Federal Register. As longtime CommLawBlog readers know, Federal Register publication of such things starts the time for filing petitions for reconsideration (which are due within 30 days of publication) and petitions for judicial review (due within 60 days of publication. And sure enough, according to an FCC public notice, two parties have indeed filed for reconsideration. Trimble Navigation Limited and Deere & Company – two members...
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