CommLawCenter Blog (Courtesy of Pillsbury)

By Scott R. Flick and Carly A. Deckelboim July 2014 Pillsbury's communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month's issue includes: Multi-Year Cramming Scheme Results in $1.6 Million Fine Violation of Retransmission Consent Rules Leads to $2.25 Million Fine $25,000 Fine for Failure to Respond to FCC Continued Cramming Practices Lead to Double the Base Fine The FCC recently issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") against a Florida telephone company for "cramming" customers by billing them for unauthorized charges and fees related to long...
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By Paul A. Cicelski and Carly A. Deckelboim For those of you following our numerous posts on EAS matters over the years, a new chapter starts today. After participating in EAS summits and meetings for such a long time, it's hard to disagree that working to improve emergency alerts for all of us is one of the more important items before the FCC. The EAS summits hosted to address improvements to the alert system have been very useful toward achieving that goal, and many thanks should go out to the state broadcasters associations, the FCC, FEMA, the National Association of...
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By Scott R. Flick and Carly A. Deckelboim June 2014 Pillsbury's communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month's issue includes: Bad Legal Advice Leads to Admonishment for Public File Violations $10,000 Fine for Tower Violation Missing Emergency Alert System Equipment Results in $6,000 Fine Licensee's Poor Financial Condition and Reliance on Bad Legal Advice Fend Off Fines Earlier this month, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau issued an order against the former licensee of a Texas radio station admonishing the licensee but declining to impose $40,000 in previously...
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By Scott R. Flick In a 6-3 decision released this morning, the Supreme Court didn't just rain on Aereo's parade, but drenched it. For a case involving fairly convoluted points of law, the Supreme Court's decision is surprisingly straightforward: if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, no amount of technology will change the fact that it is a duck. At this early stage of the case--keep in mind this was just about whether an injunction against Aereo should have been issued by the lower courts for one specific type of copyright infringement--the question before the Court...
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By Christine A. Reilly With the heat of Summer now upon us, the FCC is gearing up for its annual regulatory fee filing window, which usually occurs in mid-September. Like other federal agencies, the FCC must raise funds to pay for its operations ("to recover the costs of... enforcement activities, policy and rulemaking activities, user information services, and international activities."). For Fiscal Year 2014, Congress has, for the third year in a row, mandated that the FCC collect $339,844,000.00 from its regulatees. Accordingly, the FCC is now tasked with determining how to meet the Congressional mandate. ...
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By Scott R. Flick When the FCC voted at its March 31, 2014 meeting to deem television Joint Sales Agreements involving more than 15% of a station's weekly advertising time as an attributable ownership interest, it announced that broadcasters that are parties to existing JSAs would have two years to modify or terminate those JSAs to come into compliance. However, the FCC's Report and Order adopting that change to the rules was not released until April 15, 2014, and noted that the effective date of the rule change would be 30 days after the Report and Order was published...
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By Christine A. Reilly Surprise, surprise, the FCC has instituted yet another application filing freeze! The FCC effectively said "enough is enough" and stopped accepting applications for LPTV channel displacements and new digital replacement translators. Yesterday, the FCC released a Public Notice indicating that, effective June 11, 2014, the Media Bureau would cease to accept applications seeking new digital replacement translator stations and LPTV, TV translator, and Class A TV channel displacements. The FCC did provide that in certain "rare cases", a waiver of the freeze may be sought on a case-by-case basis, and that the Media Bureau will...
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By Scott R. Flick and Carly A. Deckelboim May 2014 Pillsbury's communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month's issue includes: FCC Proposes $11,000 Fine for Marketing of Unauthorized Device $2,944,000 Fine for Robocalls Made Without Recipients' Consent Sponsorship Identification Complaint Leads to $185,000 Consent Decree Premature Consummation of Transaction Results in $22,000 Consent Decree Modifying Design of Parking Meter Requires New FCC Certification and Warning to Users Earlier this month, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL")...
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By Scott R. Flick Just two months after assessing nearly $2 million in fines to cable operators for airing ads for the movie Olympus Has Fallen containing false EAS tones, the FCC today granted an 18-month extension of its 2013 waiver allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue to use false emergency tones in Public Service Announcements. In this case, the tone being used is not the "broadcast" EAS tone, but the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) tone transmitted to cell phones and other wireless devices in an emergency. In the words of the FCC, "[t]he WEA Attention Signal is...
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By: Carly A. Deckelboim Earlier today, the FCC held its monthly Open Meeting, where it adopted rules to implement the Broadcast Television Incentive Auction.You can watch a replay of the FCC's Open Meeting on the FCC's website. Thus far, the FCC has released three documents relating to the actions it took today in this proceeding, as well as separate statements from four of the five commissioners, providing at least some initial guidance to affected parties: (1) a News Release, (2) a summary of upcoming proceedings, and (3) a staff summary of the Report & Order. At the meeting, the...
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By Christine A. Reilly The FCC just gave broadcasters another reason to answer the door graciously. Earlier this week, the FCC whacked a Pennsylvania Class A Television broadcaster with an $89,200 Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for refusing to allow FCC inspectors to inspect the station's facilities, not just once, but on three different occasions. It is rare to see the FCC show its irritation in an NAL, but the language used by the FCC in this particular NAL leaves no doubt that the Commission was not happy with the licensee, particularly with what the FCC believed was blatant disregard...
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By Paul A. Cicelski
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