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.
Earlier today, the FCC placed on public notice two petitions requesting that the agency clarify or forbear from enforcing certain aspects of its new TCPA regulations that went into effect on October 16, 2013. Those regulations, which we summarized here, created, among other things, a new “prior express written consent” requirement for the transmission of… Continue Reading
On October 18, 2013, the FCC issued a Public Notice confirming the deadlines to submit comments and reply comments to refresh the record in the FCC’s pending “cramming” proceeding. Comments are due by November 18 and reply comments are due by December 2, 2013.
Earlier today, two entities — the Direct Marketing Association (“DMA”) and a Coalition of Mobile Engagement Providers (“Coalition”) — filed petitions at the FCC asking the agency to stay and forbear from enforcing, or clarify, certain aspects of the “prior express written consent” requirement that went into effect yesterday for prerecorded calls to residential numbers and autodialed… 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
Continuing its efforts to license spectrum for mobile broadband uses consistent with the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the FCC announced that it will auction spectrum licenses to the H Block by January 14, 2014. The H Block spectrum will be used for flexible-use services, including mobile broadband, and expand… 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
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
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance held a hearing entitled, “Stopping Fraudulent Robocall Scams: Can More Be Done?” The hearing takes place two weeks after the FTC celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the its implementation of the Do Not Call Registry and on the heels of the FTC’s recent… Continue Reading
Telecommunications carriers and providers of interconnected VoIP service with access to certain kinds of customer information collected through mobile devices are subject to existing privacy rules governing their use and disclosure of that information, the Federal Communications Commission announced in a declaratory ruling adopted at its June 27 meeting. Significantly, the decision makes clear that… 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.
A seller who authorizes a third-party telemarketer to market the seller’s goods or services may be held vicariously liable if the telemarketer violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Federal Communications Commission held in a May 9 declaratory ruling. The FCC’s ruling interprets two subsections of the TCPA. The first subsection — 47 U.S.C…. Continue Reading
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
Last week, the FCC for the first time proposed to fine companies for using mobile phone signal jamming devices. The FCC found that two entities, Taylor Oilfield Manufacturing, Inc. and The Supply Room, Inc., willfully and repeatedly imported and operated multiple illegal mobile phone signal jammers in the U.S. Although the FCC in the past… 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
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
House and Senate Judiciary Committee leaders joined the cell phone unlocking debate last week by introducing a pair of new bills. If enacted, the bills would overturn an October 2012 regulation issued by the Library of Congress, which effectively prohibits consumers from unlocking cell phones purchased after January 26, 2013 so that they may be… Continue Reading
On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) approved the proposed merger of cellular service providers T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS. In its written opinion and order, the FCC’s Wireless Bureau concluded that the proposed merger would benefit competition in the wireless market by, among other things, providing the combined company with greater spectrum resources for its… Continue Reading