The Federal Communications Commission today announced its intent to fine a television station $325,000 — the maximum penalty available — for airing less than three seconds of a pornographic video on a small portion of the screen during an evening newscast. The Notice of Apparent Liability is a reminder of the FCC’s continued vigorous enforcement… Continue Reading
The FCC announced in a recent Public Notice that it will extend the deadline for compliance with its new television closed captioning quality rules until March 16, 2015. Previously scheduled to go into effect on January 15, 2015, the quality rules establish standards for television closed captioning concerning (1) accuracy, (2) synchronicity, (3) completeness, and (4) placement. The rules… Continue Reading
In a recent Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), the FCC announced that it is seeking comment on proposals that would require video programmers to file contact information and closed captioning certifications with the FCC. Specific topics on which the FCC is seeking comment include the following: Whether video programmers should be required to file… Continue Reading
The STELA Reauthorization Act (“STELAR”) has been signed into law by the President. STELAR extends the statutory copyright license for satellite carriage of distant signals for another five years (through December 31, 2019). It also extends through January 1, 2020 the statutory good faith negotiation requirement imposed on broadcasters and MVPDs for retransmission consent negotiations. … Continue Reading
The FCC was set to release today hundreds of thousands of pages of highly confidential documents — including unredacted programming distribution agreement materials and negotiating strategy documents — for inspection by third parties as part of the Commission’s review of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DIRECTV mergers. On Friday, November 14, however, a coalition of… Continue Reading
By Daniel Kahn and Paul Swain The FCC has adopted new rules regarding closed captioning quality for television programming. At its meeting yesterday, the Commission unanimously approved a Report & Order that will establish four “non-quantitative” quality standards for closed captioning, requiring captions to be (1) accurate, (2) synchronous, (3) complete, and (4) properly placed. … Continue Reading
A federal appeals court struck down key parts of the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order in a Jan. 14 decision, ruling that the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules improperly regulate broadband providers like “common carriers” — such as providers of traditional telephone service — even though the FCC has classified broadband providers as not subject… Continue Reading
The FCC has proposed fining Turner Broadcasting System $200,000 for allegedly transmitting simulated Emergency Alert System (EAS) codes 14 times over a six day period in the absence of an actual emergency. Two viewers complained that an advertisement that aired on Turner’s Adult Swim Network (which shares channel airtime with the Cartoon Network) contained audio… Continue Reading
Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice (“PN”), following up on its July Public Notice, concerning the software to be used during the Incentive Auction to determine whether the acceptance of each bid from a broadcaster will result in a feasible, and optimal, repacking process.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear litigation between broadcasters and Aereo, a streaming service that retransmits broadcast programming without consent or payment. Broadcasters argue that Aereo infringes their exclusive right to publicly perform copyrighted works. Aereo contends that its system uses one antenna per subscriber to provide each user a separate copy of… Continue Reading
A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Tuesday in the so-called “Aereokiller” litigation. The case tests whether services that allow subscribers to stream broadcast television on their computers and mobile devices infringe the exclusive right of copyright owners to publicly perform their copyrighted works. Specifically, the Ninth Circuit… Continue Reading
Recently, the FCC extended the time for interested parties to comment on certain closed captioning issues. In a recent Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC announced that it is seeking comment on two issues related to its captioning rules: (1) possible synchronization requirements for devices covered by the FCC closed captioning rules and (2)… Continue Reading
Under the Internet closed captioning requirements established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), after certain triggering deadlines, video programming shown on television with captions in the United States and distributed in full-length form over Internet Protocol (IP) must be provided with captions online. Beginning on September 30, 2013, the IP closed captioning requirements will apply… Continue Reading
A congressional subcommittee held an oversight hearing Tuesday addressing the Federal Communications Commission’s progress in setting rules for the upcoming incentive auction of television broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use. On Monday, the FCC released a Public Notice addressing one aspect of those rules, which would govern how TV stations that do not sell their… Continue Reading
A group of senators announced on Wednesday that they would renew their push for federal legislation to limit the ability of federal authorities to compel journalists to reveal information about or obtained from confidential sources, after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would tighten its own standards for when to seek such information. The… Continue Reading
The Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments by September 4 on issues related to video description, which is the transmission of a secondary audio track describing the visible action in video programming for the benefit of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Under FCC rules, local TV station affiliates… Continue Reading
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the retransmission consent agreement between Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. and Time Warner Cable, Inc. allows Time Warner to rebroadcast the signals of three television stations owned by Nexstar without any geographic restriction across its entire system. Rejecting Nexstar’s request for an injunction to stop Time Warner… Continue Reading
On Tuesday, the FCC announced procedures for noncommercial educational (“NCE”) broadcast stations to informally request waivers allowing the stations to raise relief funds for victims of Monday’s Oklahoma tornado. Although under FCC rules NCE stations are generally prohibited from engaging in fundraising activities for entities other than the stations themselves, the Commission has historically granted waivers to stations engaging… Continue Reading
A joint statement released today by AT&T, the National Association of Broadcasters, and Verizon criticized the FCC for seeking comments on new proposals for reorganizing the spectrum currently used by television broadcasters, which the statement said would go against the “growing consensus” of the broadcast and wireless industries.
In a Public Notice released yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission asked for comments on several possible plans for reorganizing the spectrum currently used by television broadcasters. Initial comments are due June 14, with reply comments due June 28. Under a statute passed last year, broadcast television stations will be allowed to voluntarily participate in an… Continue Reading
Change is in the air at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The agency’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced yesterday that he will be stepping down on Friday, May 17. (He had announced his plans to leave the FCC in March, but the date of his departure has been uncertain since then.) Until his successor is confirmed… Continue Reading
New rules adopted by the FCC require that when television stations in the U.S. display emergency information visually during non-news programming, they must provide the same information aurally on a secondary audio stream. The new rules do not change the requirement that emergency information provided visually during newscasts be conveyed aurally on primary audio. The… Continue Reading
Recently, the FCC took action in a wide-ranging series of proceedings designed to reassess its rules regarding the effect of radiofrequency (RF) emissions on human health and safety.
The public-facing portion of the FCC’s online public inspection file system for broadcast TV stations apparently was unavailable for part of the day on Wednesday. Although the outage was fairly brief — we first saw the error below late in the morning, and we could access the system again by mid-afternoon — it is a reminder that… Continue Reading