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Several weeks ago we reported on the FCC’s order disposing of several petitions for reconsideration that had been filed with respect to its 2013 decision to adopt a new regulatory approach to the use of cell phone signal boosters. In its most recent order the Commission adopted a couple of tweaks to its rules and proposed some further tweaks. All of those actions have now made it into the Federal Register. As a result, we now know when all but one of the newly-revised rules will take effect, and we also know the deadlines for commenting on the proposed additional...
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Last month we reported on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) advancing a number of proposals likely to affect the future of LPTV/TV translator operations, particularly following the spectrum repack. As we mentioned there, the FCC has given LPTV and TV translator licensees a lot to think about but not much time to do their thinking. The NPRM has now been published in the Federal Register, which means that the comment deadlines have been set – so we now know just how little time is available. Comments on the FCC’s proposals are due by December 29, 2014, and replies are...
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Cable TV and broadcast provisions tweaked as Congress re-authorizes satellite carriage of local TV stations. Christmas is coming early this year … if, that is, you’re a direct broadcast satellite (DBS), cable or other MVPD operator, or a low power TV licensee. Not so much if you’re a full-power TV licensee, although there may be a little something under the tree for you, too. All this is thanks to Congress, which has passed the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, commonly known as “STELAR”. All that remains is for President Obama to put his John Hancock on it, which we can expect to...
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Three years in the making, a notice of proposed rulemaking would give the thumbs up to online contest rules. Big News! The Commission has taken the unusual step of proposing a rule revision requested by broadcasters and of potential benefit to broadcasters, both TV and radio! The on-air contest rule – Section 73.1216 – is up for a long-overdue overhaul. And while there may be plenty to criticize in the FCC’s less-than-prompt attention here, let’s not focus on that just now. Instead, let’s take a look at how the Commission figures to make broadcasters’ lives a little better. As we have reported previously,...
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Sirius XM loses on public performance claims for pre-1972 sound recordings … again. I’ve already written about two lawsuits – both in California – based on infringement claims arising from Sirius XM’s public performance of sound recordings created before February 15, 1972. (You can read those two posts here and here.) In both cases Sirius XM suffered adverse rulings. It remained to be seen, however, whether Sirius XM (and other potential defendants engaged in the digital transmission of “pre-1972” sound recordings) might be in trouble elsewhere. The answer is (drum roll, please) “YES”. The plaintiffs in one of the California cases – former...
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Last month we reported on a couple of Notices of Proposed Rulemaking looking for possible solutions to the problems that the upcoming repack of the spectrum will cause to wireless microphone users and manufacturers in particular as well as other unlicensed users of the TV spectrum (who may include some wireless mic folks as well as white space device users). Both of those NPRMs have now been published in the Federal Register – here (for the wireless mic item) and here (for the more general item on unlicensed uses). Thanks to that development, we now know the deadlines for comments...
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If you’re broadcasting video in digital, we’re talking to you. Attention, all DTV broadcasters! It’s that time of year again. Your Form 317 is due at the FCC by December 1. Since that’s the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, you might want to start to focus on this now, before you get distracted by the holiday spirit. Having trouble recalling just what Form 317 is all about? No problem. Form 317 is the “Digital Ancillary/Supplementary Services” Report on which you have to report whether, between October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014, your DTV station provided any ancillary or supplementary services for a fee...
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Petition for rulemaking follows $600,000 consent decree. Hotels, convention centers, universities, hospitals among those potentially affected. Last month we reported that the FCC had whacked Marriott Corporation for a cool $600,000 for messing with guests’ Wi-Fi hotspots. (The hotelier had prevented guests at its Opryland resort from using their own hotspots by transmitting disabling signals to private hotspots, forcing them to pay what the FCC felt were exorbitant rates for the resort’s own Wi-Fi service.) The FCC’s theory was that Marriott was violating Section 333 of the Communications Act, which bars interference with lawful communications. While Marriott appeared to have accepted its...
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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, Kevin Goldberg and Jon Markman will be presenting a free webinar on Thursday, November...
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The FCC’s rules contemplated waivers extending, at most, for two years. Those two years are just about up. With December just around the corner, full power TV licensees and MVPDs should probably be checking their compliance with our old friend, the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act (you probably know it as the CALM Act) and the related FCC rules. When the FCC’s rules governing the “loudness” of TV commercials were first adopted, they were set to take effect on December 13, 2012. One-year waivers were available which, if granted, took the compliance deadline to December 13, 2013. One-year extensions of those waivers were...
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Low-profile Inspector General Report includes recommendation with potentially serious budgetary repercussions. Noncommercial (NCE) stations that receive grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) should pay attention to a recommendation made recently by CPB’s Inspector General (IG). She thinks it may be time for CPB to “evaluate the practicality” of continuing to allow CPB grant recipients include in-kind trades as part of the calculation of their grant amounts. If this recommendation gets any traction, it could seriously rock the bottom line of many CPB grantees. NCE stations receiving CPB grants rely on funding from various sources. Private support, in particular, is critical to...
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As we reported just about a year ago, the FCC adopted a number of rules to address the problem of rural call completion or, more accurately, rural call non-completion. Many calls placed to numbers served by small rural telephone companies don’t seem to make it to their destination. And that seems to happen especially when the calls are routed through “least cost” intermediate service providers who don’t take kindly to the high per-minute termination access charges imposed by many small telcos. In keeping with its priority goal of universal connectivity, the FCC adopted rules mandating that calls not be blocked, that...
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