BSkyB Continues as Ofcom Licensee

Media Law Prof Blog

From the Hollywood Reporter: NewsCorp will continue to hold a broadcast license, Ofcom has ruled. NewsCorp has issued a statement indicating it is "pleased" by the decision. However, the agency found James Murdoch's behavior as a company director "difficult to

$700,000 to Be Paid By Media General to End Inquiry on its Attempts to Enforce a JSA – What are the Limits on the Enforceability of a Contractual Restriction on an FCC Licensee’s Sale of its Station?

Broadcast Law Blog

As we wrote here when the case first arose , the FCC wrote to the court, contending that the injunction would not only violate the conditions placed on the sale by the FCC (that the Schurz station be sold before the Gray deal could close) but, more importantly for the general broadcast community, that the restrictions on the sale of the station, and its participation in the incentive auction, were improper restrictions on the control rights of the licensee.

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FCC Upholds $50,000 Penalty for Noncommercial LMA Where Licensee Paid More than its Operational Expenses

Broadcast Law Blog

The decision was one that upheld a 2012 consent decree where, to resolve objections against the sale of a noncommercial radio station owned by the University of San Francisco, the Media Bureau imposed a fine of $50,000 for a pre-sale LMA which paid the licensee more than the costs of the operation of the station ( we wrote about that case and a similar case resolved earlier this year, here ). A decision that noncommercial broadcasters should note was released by the Commission last week.

Update: FCC Adopted Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Eliminate the Requirement that Licensees Maintain Paper Copy of the Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

At its meeting yesterday, as promised, the FCC adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking to eliminate the rule that certain classes of FCC licensees maintain a paper copy of the FCC rules. Under current rules, licensees of LPTV, TV and FM translator, and TV and FM booster stations (but not full-power stations) are required to maintain paper copies of FCC rules applicable to those services.

FCC Fines Parties to an LMA $8000 Where Programmer Paid Too Many of Licensee’s Expenses

Broadcast Law Blog

In a consent decree released earlier this week , the FCC fined the parties to a LMA for an FM radio station in Colorado $8000 because the FCC believed that the programmer paid too many of the licensee’s expenses directly. According to the decision, the programmer paid certain debts of the licensee directly, including the licensee’s obligations on its tower lease, and the cost of its telephone line to the main studio.

Appeal Date Set for Changes in FCC Rules for Biennial Ownership Reports – Why Many College and University Licensees are Concerned

Broadcast Law Blog

We summarized the changes in the requirements here – changes that include putting noncommercial stations on the same schedule as commercial stations (filing on December 1 of odd-numbered years) and requiring that all licensees obtain, for every person or entity with an attributable interest, an FCC Registration Number (an “FRN” ). The changes in the FCC’s rules for Biennial Ownership Reports on FCC Form 323 were today published in the Federal Register.

When Is An FCC Fine Too Big? - Analyze Licensee Gross Income to Determine Hardship (For Noncommercial Licensees Too)

Broadcast Law Blog

Thus, the FCC has adopted a test where it will look at the gross revenues of the licensee of the station to see if the licensee can pay the fine. And these cases make clear that it is the entire gross revenue of the licensee - not just the revenue of radio operations that is considered in this analysis. One case very clearly demonstrates that the FCC is looking at a licensee's full revenue - not just that revenue available to the broadcast station.

FCC Says No to Court’s Enforcement of Contractual Rights that Limit Broadcast Licensee’s Control Rights – What Does this Mean for Broadcast Contracts? 

Broadcast Law Blog

By trying to get a court to enforce a contract signed with a broadcaster, is the suing party infringing on a licensee’s control over its broadcast station license? The FCC’s letter states that it believes that the courts cannot order the relief that Media General seeks without infringing on the licensee’s rights to control the station. How far can a court go in ordering broadcasters to comply with the terms of a contract?

$11,000 Fine for Broadcast Station Tower Light Outage - FCC Emphasizes the Responsibility of Licensee To Maintain Lights if Tower Owner Does Not

Broadcast Law Blog

But in a decision last week , the FCC made clear that, even if the licensee of a broadcast station is not the tower owner, it still has the responsibility for dealing with tower lights that are out, even if the tower owner does not. The failure of the licensee to maintain the tower lights, and other related issues, resulted in an $11,000 fine issued by the FCC. Thus, no matter who owned the tower, the licensee was still subject to the fine for the lights not being operational.

FCC To Consider Allowing Alien Ownership of More Than 25% of Broadcast Licensees - Comments Due April 15

Broadcast Law Blog

Under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act , foreign ownership of a broadcast licensee is limited to 20% of the company's stock , or no more than 25% of a parent company of the licensee. The limits on the ownership of broadcast stations by those who are not US citizens is being re-examined by the FCC according to a recent Public Notice.

$1250 FCC Fine for Not Having Licensee's Articles of Incorporation in Station's Public File

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision by the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, the Commission issued a $1250 fine to a station that did not have its licensee's Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws in its public file when a listener came to check the file. Licensees are also supposed to have in their public file other documents reflecting any future ownership rights in the station (options, pledges, warrants, etc) and any documents that significantly restrict the actions of the licensee (e.g.

Why music publishers (and their licensees) should care about the Google Books Settlement

Music Technology Policy

I've been trying to beat the drum on the importance of the Google Books settlement for a while (see chez Reg "Is Google's Culture Grab Unstoppable?"). There are quite a few people objecting to the settlement, but no music publishers seem to understand that they are involved. The common reaction is that there's no way that music, such as sheet music, could be involved because the publishers never gave a license. Now come on. This is GOOGLE we are talking about here.

Buyers of Stock of FCC Licensee are not Relieved from Fines for FCC Violations of Former Owners

Broadcast Law Blog

In the case decided last week, the Commission concluded that the licensee of a broadcast station was liable for fines for violations of the public inspection file rules - even though the violations occurred prior to a "long-form" FCC Form 315 application for transfer of control of the station.

FCC Issues $15,000 Fines For Unauthorized Transfer of Control and Main Studio Staffing Violations for LMA Done Wrong

Broadcast Law Blog

$15,000 per station was the cost of a broadcast licensee’s failure to adequately supervise two stations of which he was the licensee, but which were operated pursuant to time brokerage agreements or LMAs. Like many stations in these tough economic times, this licensee decided to allow a third party to provide the bulk of the programming and retain the bulk of the sales revenues, in exchange for a payment.

FCC Gives No Special Consideration to Noncommercial Broadcasters Who Violate the Rules - Colleges Pay Attention to Your Radio Station!

Broadcast Law Blog

Instead, noncommercial station licensees, like the college that was involved in this case, have to justify a reduction in the amount of a fine based on financial hardship by providing a financial statement for the licensee itself - not just a showing of the budget for the radio station.

Localism Without Government Regulation

Broadcast Law Blog

Tags: FCC licensee responsibility FCC service obligations On Line Media Public Interest Obligations/Localism Website Issues broadcast regulation broadcaster programming obligations broadcaster service to community broadcasters service to public new media competition

MTV Sued for $30 Million for Allegedly Not Registering Logos in Latin America

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

MTV's licensees say they spent millions on branded clothing and luggage only to have the products seized by local authorities. read more. The Business THR, Esq. Television MTV Business

FCC Fines Station $7000 for Violation of Main Studio Rule – Good Reminder on Broadcast Main Studio Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

The facts of the case were set out in a Notice of Apparent Liability issued back in February, where the licensee had claimed that its studio was in a location that was shared with another broadcaster who had agreed to lease it space. The supposed landlord, however, said that the lease agreement had expired and the licensee had no employees or equipment at the location of the studio. This licensee’s fine is a good reminder to all other broadcasters to observe these requirements. .

FCC To Hold Workshop on VHF/UHF Narrowbanding

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC will hold a workshop on VHF/UHF narrowbanding on January 26 in DC for licensees interesting in moving to narrowband radio transmissions. More here

Buyers of Broadcast Stations Through Stock Transfer Beware – Liability for Fines of Prior Owner Can Still be Imposed After the Transfer

Broadcast Law Blog

In a recent decision , the FCC made clear that when there is a transfer of control of a station through the sale of the stock of the licensee company, the new owners are not absolved of any FCC violations that may have taken place when the old owners controlled the company. Note however, as we wrote here , if a compliance issue was discovered by the FCC before the sale, it is possible that the FCC could go after the old licensee for a fine, even after a sale has been completed).

FCC Fines Public Broadcaster $10,000 for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists – No Leniency Without Showing of Financial Hardship

Broadcast Law Blog

The licensee had pleaded that the radio station fine should be reduced given that the public file failure began when it acquired the station from a local college that was about to shut the station down as it was not financially viable for the college. The licensee suggested that, given the circumstance, and as a first-time offender who did not mean to violate the rules, it should be assessed a lower fine.

Broadcast Creditors Beware – $11,000 Fine Imposed for FCC Reporting Shortcomings in an AM Foreclosure Action

Broadcast Law Blog

The fine was imposed both for an unauthorized transfer of control of the licensee of the station, and because of the failure of the receiver appointed by the Court to keep the FCC fully appraised of the status of the control of the licensee company while FCC approval for the receiver’s control of the station was still pending before the FCC. So for any creditor of a broadcast licensee, this case makes clear that you need to proceed with caution!

FCC Approves For the First Time 100% Foreign Ownership of US Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

This comes after significant relaxation of the FCC’s interpretation of the foreign ownership limits which, less than 4 years ago, had been interpreted to effectively prohibit foreign ownership of more than 25% of a company controlling broadcast licensees (see our article here about the 2013 decision to relax the restrictive policy). These approvals come on top of several other acquisitions by foreign investors of non-controlling interests in broadcast licensees.

One of the few reasons I couldn’t emigrate to Sweden

The Legal Satyricon

The Reklamombudsmannen (RO) has reprimanded Top-Toy, a licensee of Toys”R”Us and one of the [.]. They insist on trying to turn the world into a womens’ studies professor’s dystopian nightmare. Is it discriminatory and degrading for toy catalogs to show girls playing with tea sets and boys with Nerf guns? A Swedish regulatory group says yes.

LimeWire Trying to Drag Amazon, Apple Into Record Lable Fight

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Eriq Gardner In the past couple of weeks, attorneys for LimeWire have been pushing third-party licensees to hand over a range of documents. read more. THR, Esq. Music Music Tech

Moving FM Translators 250 Miles to Rebroadcast an AM Station – What the FCC is Considering as Part of Its AM Revitalization Proceeding

Broadcast Law Blog

A proposal to allow AM station licensees to buy FM translators located as far as 250 miles away from the AM station and move them to an area where they can rebroadcast the AM station was the talk of the NAB Radio Show last week. An AM licensee buys the translator authorization – and it basically gives that licensee the right to file for a vacant frequency in its market on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fine for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs List Not Excused by Intervening Transfer of Control of TV Station – Buy Assets Not Stock to Avoid Assuming Prior Owner’s FCC Liabilities

Broadcast Law Blog

Thus, even though the station was no longer controlled by the same individuals who controlled the station at the time of the violation, and even though the licensee company was different, the fine still applied. In the decision reached today, the licensee attempted to exploit that different treatment – but the FCC rejected the distinction.

Hollywood Docket: iPad trademark fight ; UMG vs. Grooveshark details; China's friend of copyrights

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Entertainment law news this morning: Comcast has submitted a 145-page application to the FCC for a requested transfer for licensees of NBC Universal's 26 television stations and makes the case that the merger won't be anti-competitive. Comcast also made a.

FCC Imposes Fines Up to $20,000 for EEO Violations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has issued Notices of Apparent Liability against two radio licensees for apparent EEO violations at their respective station clusters. The common thread in both NALs was the licensee's failure to properly recruit for new hires , relying primarily on "walk-ins" or referrals in lieu of the "wide dissemination" required for information about job openings.

Update: Comment Dates Set on FCC Proposal to Abolish Requirement for Paper Copies of FCC Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

The comment dates have now been set on the FCC’s proposal to abolish the requirement that licensees of certain classes of broadcast stations (including translators and auxiliary stations) maintain a paper copy of the FCC rules. We wrote about that proposal, one of the first actions of Chairman Pai under the Modernization of Media Regulation initiative, here and here.

When An FM Nondirectional Antenna is Really Directional – Round 2, The FCC Does Not Back Down

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released yesterday (available here as a Word document , the PDF link appears to be broken) addressing the response to the Show Cause order – in a very quick action on a contested matter like this – the FCC rejected the showing offered by the licensee to defend its purported nondirectional antenna and ordered the station to reduce power. The licensee also offered to remount its antenna to eliminate anything that had been done to “optimize” its signal.

New FCC EEO Audit Letter Sent to 280 Radio and TV Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

Licensees should review the list of affected stations carefully to see if any of your stations are on the list. We note that this list appears to be very heavy on noncommercial licensees , so those licensees should be particularly on alert. If a station that is being audited is involved in an LMA with another broadcaster, the audit may also require that the broker provide employment information as well as the licensee.

$90,000 Payment to FCC by TV Owner for Claiming Reruns of One-Time Programs as Meeting “CORE” Children’s Educational and Informational Programming Requirement

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC had held up the license renewals of many of its stations as the licensee had claimed reruns of one-time programs as fulfilling the CORE requirements. 7) the licensee must provide instructions for listing the program as E/I, including an indication of the age group for which the program is intended, to publishers of TV program guides. In this case, the licensee was deemed to have violated criteria number 3 above – as its programming was not “regularly scheduled.”In

FCC 2011 Annual Regulatory Fees Due by Sept. 14, 2011

Broadcast Law Blog

That site is now ready to accept the payment of the 2011 Regulatory Fees, and licensees must log-on to the Fee Filer website using their FRN (FCC Registration Number) and password to review the fees that have been pre-populated in for that particular licensee. Please note, the FCC will not mail a bill or a reminder to broadcast stations this year, so it is the responsibility of each licensee to determine the extent of its reg fee obligation.

Radio Owner Forfeits Several FCC Licenses for Being Silent For Prolonged Periods of Time – Warning to Broadcasters for Next License Renewal Cycle

Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, the FCC issued a consent decree entered into with a broadcaster who is the licensee of multiple radio stations, many of which were silent for long periods during the last license renewal cycle. As part of the deal, in order to get renewals for 12 stations granted, the licensee agreed to either surrender the licenses for 9 other stations or to donate them to nonprofit groups.

$25,000 Fine for Station in an LMA Not Having Staff and a Public File at the Main Studio

Broadcast Law Blog

An FCC Enforcement Bureau District Office today issued a Notice of Apparent Liability , proposing to fine an AM licensee $25,000 for not having a meaningful staff presence at the station's main studio, and for not being able to produce a public inspection file when the FCC inspectors visited the station. A station licensee cannot just sign an LMA, and leave the station to the control of the program provider.

Ninth Circuit Issues Important Decision on Software Licensing Practices and Web Scraping

New Media and Technology Law

Oracle”) develops and licenses certain enterprise software, and also offers maintenance contracts to its licensees. Rimini”) is a company that provides third-party, after-license software support services to Oracle licensees, competing directly with Oracle to provide these services. Rimini used the files to provide software support services to that particular licensee, as well as to other present and future Rimini customers. PeopleSoft : “Licensee may.

Relaxed Rules for Location of FM Translators to Rebroadcast AM Stations Effective April 10

Broadcast Law Blog

We wrote here and here about the FCC’s new rules to relax the limits on where licensees of AM stations can use FM translators to rebroadcast their stations. The new rules allow the location of these translators so that their 1 mv/m coverage area does not extend beyond 25 miles from the AM station or beyond the AM station’s 2 mv/m contour – whichever is greater. Up to now, the translator had to stay within the lesser of those two areas.

Incentive Auction Next Step – FCC Identifies Auction-Eligible Stations and Requires All TV Stations to File Information on Technical Facilities by July 9

Broadcast Law Blog

The public notice sets out a process for any licensee that believes that its station was incorrectly left off the list of eligible stations to request that its station be included – so all station owners should carefully review the list now. The FCC just took another step toward the TV incentive auction, and set one of the first of what will no doubt be many deadlines for stations to meet as part of the process.

Compulsory License Rules For Music Services Finding Songwriters

Music Technology Policy

Once a phonorecord of a work has been distributed to the public in the United States under authority of the copyright owner, anyone can obtain a compulsory license to make and distribute reproductions of that song if the compulsory licensee (like a Spotify, for example) otherwise complies with the very straightforward statutory requirements to enjoy this tremendously valuable compulsory license. And there are great benefits and reductions in transaction costs to the licensee.