CommLawBlog (Courtesy of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth)

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Wilkommen, Bienvenu, Welcome! Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth is pleased to announce that David M. Janet has joined us as a member. David has more than two decades of practice experience in a variety of technology- and communications-related areas. His specialty is middle-market and startup companies in the software, data mining, digital media, government contracting, wireless and Internet content-provider, wireless application services, medical device distribution, and intraoperative monitoring industries and market spaces. David received his law degree – with high honors – from Duke. His academic achievement there shouldn’t surprise anybody because his B.A. from William and Mary came summa cum laude, with...
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FCC rakes in record receipts. The FCC finally brought down the closing gavel for the AWS-3 auction (that would be Auction 97 for those of you who keep track of such things) on January 29. The auction began on November 13, took breaks for four holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Day – and even slowed down when a couple of winter storms blew through Washington, D.C. Still, by the time the 341 rounds of bidding were complete, nearly $45 billion in total successful bids had been netted, a record for FCC auctions. (The previous high...
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Media Bureau announces “Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline” by which full power and Class A TV facilities must be licensed to be eligible for protection when the repack happens. If you’re a full power or Class A TV licensee and you’d like your facilities to be eligible for protection in the channel repacking process, heads up. You’ve got until May 29, 2015 to get those facilities licensed (or at least to get a license application for them on file). That’s the latest word from the Media Bureau, which has officially designated May 29, 2015 as the Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline. Earlier on in the development...
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Last year we reported on the adoption of new service rules governing AWS-3 spectrum use. And as we also reported a couple of months later, those rules took effect in July, 2014, except for a handful of provisions that had to be run through the Paperwork Reduction Act drill at the Office of Management and Budget. The good news is that, according to a notice in the Federal Register, that hurdle has now been cleared for Sections 2.1033(c)(19)(i)-(ii), 27.14(k) and (s), 27.17(c), 27.50(d)(3), 27.1131, 27.1132, and 27.1134(c) and (f). As a result, all of those sections have become effective as...
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Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose - If you’re a webcaster, you’ve got until February 2 to wrap up your annual SoundExchange homework.  Sigh. Every year brings us another year closer to death. It sure feels that way as we do our Webcaster Wake-Up Call for 2015 – the last year for the rates and terms set in the Webcasting III decision. (The rates and terms that will govern for the next five-year term, i.e., 2016-2020, will be set by the Copyright Royalty Board in the Webcasting IV proceeding it cranked up last year and is still pending.) Since these...
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Demonstrating that “mostly retired” clearly doesn’t mean “completely inactive”, our colleague Mitchell Lazarus has published yet another article in IEEE Spectrum magazine. (Regular readers will recall that articles by Mitchell have graced the pages of IEEE Spectrum several times over the last few years.) Called “Radar Everywhere,” Mitchell’s latest opus addresses the accelerating proliferation of radar uses and the need for regulators to keep up with that proliferation. IEEE, of course, is a widely respected association of electrical engineers. IEEE Spectrum is its flagship magazine (and website), keeping the association’s more than 400,000 members informed about major trends and developments...
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According to SNL Kagan, recognized as one of the preeminent sources of financial analysis in the media business, in 2014 Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth served as legal adviser in more media/entertainment/new media transactions than any other law firm – by a long shot … again. Hey, isn’t this the same post we put up last year … and the year before … and the year before that … AND the year before that? Yes, indeed. And again, the total number of transactions that brought FHH back to the top of the charts for the fifth year in a row – 139 (a solid...
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But increase in antitrust review thresholds is the smallest inflation adjustment in years. Another annual ritual is upon us: the Federal Trade Commission has announced the dollar value thresholds that will trigger automatic federal review of mergers and acquisitions for the next year or so. And it’s good news (sort of) for readers who keep Hart-Scott-Rodino checklists at the ready, because they won’t have to update much this year. That’s because the 2015 annual adjustment is the smallest we have seen in years – barely noticeable at one-half of one percent, well down from the annual 3%-7% leaps we had seen...
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Five months ago we reported that, in a bit of regulatory tidying up, the Office of Engineering and Technology had updated the FCC’s rules. The Commission had, in 2012, incorporated by reference into its rules a standard – ANSI C63.17-2006, to be precise – adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The standard governs certain measurement procedures in the 1920-1930 MHz band, used mainly for cordless phones, backstage intercoms, and other voice-quality audio gear. The specific version referenced in the rules had been developed by ANSI in 2006 – but, wouldn’t you know it, ANSI revised its standard in 2013....
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The biggest scandal this time of the year tends to be the NFL’s heavy-handed efforts to protect trademarks, even those it doesn’t own. It’s no secret that we here in the CommLawBlog bunker don’t fully approve of the NFL’s aggressive efforts to protect trademarks that the NFL doesn’t happen to own. Who can forget the famous “Who Dat” contretemps in 2010? And how about the NFL’s successful effort to squelch an average Joe’s (actually, an average Roy’s) attempt to register the term “Harbowl” in 2013. (Not that we’re bitter or anything, but it was CommLawBlog, not ESPN, that unearthed that particular tidbit,...
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FCC looks to open ranks of MVPDs to Internet-delivered services – a move that could save what’s left of Aereo It looks like the universe of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) is going to be expanding considerably. Previously populated by the likes of cable, MMDS and broadcast satellite operators, the MVPD universe is set to be redefined to include services “untethered” from any infrastructure-based definition … if, that is, a proposal laid out in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last month (and just published in the Federal Register) takes hold. The result should...
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Last month we reported on the FCC’s expansion of the use of its ECFS (short for “Electronic Comment Filing System”) online filing system to permit – and, in five cases, require – certain non-docketed materials to be filed through ECFS. For the five types of filing that must be filed through ECFS, the dates by which that requirement is to take effect had not yet been fixed as of our last report. For two of those types, we were able to calculate the effective date to be January 12 and, sure enough, the Commission has since confirmed the correctness of our...
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