Posts in FCC Matters.

The FCC has been flexing its muscles in 2015 when it comes to enforcing data security requirements.  In April, it reached a $25 million settlement with AT&T Services, Inc. for failing to safeguard customers’ personal information.  In July, it reached a $3.5 million settlement with TerraCom, Inc. and YourTel America, Inc. to resolve similar claims.  Earlier this month, the FCC announced it had reached a $595,000 settlement with Cox Communications, Inc. (“Cox”) to resolve the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation into whether Cox failed to properly protect its customers’ ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied today a petition for review, en banc, of an earlier decision by a three-judge panel of the Court that had ruled in favor of Aereo and against broadcasters in a case that originated in the Southern District of New York.

On April 1, 2013, the panel concluded in the case that Aereo’s service did not violate the broadcasters’ exclusive right to “publicly perform” their copyrighted television programs. Broadcasters asked the full Second Circuit Court to review that decision, but a majority of judges declined to rehear the ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

Today, the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the Janet Jackson indecency case reaffirming its earlier decision that CBS owned and operated stations were not liable under the "indecency" statute for the broadcast of Janet Jackson’s "wardrobe malfunction."

The Third Circuit heard oral argument in the case more than a year ago, after the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Third Circuit’s original decision and sent the case back to the Third Circuit for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., a case ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court announced yesterday that it has agreed to hear the Fox (fleeting expletives) and ABC (fleeting nudity) cases in the next term. The Court has agreed to determine whether the FCC’s current indecency enforcement policy violates the free speech rights of broadcasters or is unconstitutionally vague. Justice Sotomayor did not participate in the decision to accept the cases for review.

We have previously written about the Supreme Court's initial decision in the Fox case, which centered upon whether the FCC's policy concerning fleeting expletives ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

Earlier today, the federal district court in the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting from streaming the programming of the plaintiffs' television stations over the Internet or to mobile phones. The plaintiffs include television stations in New York and Seattle, the major television networks, major television studios, and Major League Baseball. began live Internet streaming of the programming of television stations located in New York and Seattle on September 13, 2010, to subscribers located anywhere in the United States ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

With the arrival of a new presidential administration, and with the explosive growth of alternative ways for people to get their daily news and opinion, a legal issue once thought settled is again in the headlines.

The “Fairness Doctrine,” first imposed by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949, required television and radio broadcast stations to give reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.

In 1987, the FCC ruled that the doctrine violated the First Amendment and did not serve the public interest because it: (1 ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski  recently announced what the Commission is billing as an “agency-wide initiative to assess the state of media in these challenging economic times and make recommendations designed to ensure a vibrant media landscape.” The Chairman has appointed Steven Waldman to lead the effort. Waldman most recently served as President and Editor-in-Chief of, a faith-oriented website, and was a regular columnist for the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. According to an FCC News Release, Waldman will work with FCC bureaus to ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

According to news reports, Commissioner Michael Copps is passing a document around the Federal Communications Commission concerning the “state of journalism.”  Although the report is not yet publicly available, is reporting that it “examines the decline of broadcast journalism over the past several years and tries to explain why traditional forms of journalism have declined while other, newer forms have been on the rise.”

It appears that the report is tied to a formal (though not yet public) Notice of Inquiry.  Issuing an NOI is often the first step to initiate a ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

In a question-begging 5-4 decision, a badly-fractured United States Supreme Court issued a ruling this morning in the Fox indecency case stemming from the isolated use of expletives (the “F-Word” and the “S-Word”) by Cher and Nicole Ritchie on live awards shows broadcast in prime time during 2002 and 2003.  A half dozen opinions were filed by the nine Justices on the High Court.

The FCC had determined that the broadcasts at issue were indecent, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals had reversed the FCC on the grounds that the FCC’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious” ... Read More 


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