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

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.

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$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.

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.

$50,000 Penalty for LMA Operations – No Payments in Excess of Expenses for Noncommercial Licensees, and a Reminder that Licensee Must Remain in Control

Broadcast Law Blog

A consent decree, requiring $50,000 payment to the FCC by the licensee and programmer of a noncommercial radio station, demonstrates two potential problem areas for broadcasters involved in LMA or Time Brokerage (TBA) arrangements. Second, for any party engaged in an LMA, it is important for the licensee to maintain control over station operations – even if the bulk of the programming is coming from its LMA partner.

FCC to Eliminate Need for Social Security Numbers from Board Members of Noncommercial Licensees for Biennial Ownership Report

Broadcast Law Blog

The third item, also related to noncommercial licensees, is the resolution of the long-simmering dispute about whether or not to require that those individuals with attributable interests in noncommercial broadcast stations – officers and board members – to provide their Social Security Numbers or other personal information to the FCC to obtain an FCC Registration Number – an FRN. So if an individual sits on the board of multiple broadcast licensees (e.g.

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.

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.

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?

$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.

$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.

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.

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.

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.

Save the Date: Nov. 28 Music Modernization Act at the Dallas Bar Association

Music Technology Policy

The talk will focus mostly on the Music Licensing Collective and Digital Licensee Coordinator in Title I, but will also cover the Wyden Loophole in Title II for pre-72 recordings. If you’ll be in Dallas, Texas on November 28, I will be discussing the Music Modernization Act at a luncheon sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association Entertainment & Sports Law Section. The meeting is scheduled for noon at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Avenue in Dallas.

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

FCC Seeks Comments on Reimbursable Repacking Expenses for LPTV, TV Translators, and FM Radio

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice asking for comments on a “ Catalog of Expenses ” that would be reimbursed to licensees of LPTV and TV translator stations, as well as FM broadcasters, who are impacted by the repacking of the TV spectrum following the TV incentive auction. If a licensee’s costs fall outside the estimated price range, before any reimbursement could be made, additional documentation and justification would be required.

Common Software Licensing Language at Issue in IP Dispute

New Media and Technology Law

Licensors of software typically utilize software license agreements providing for their ownership of the licensed software and related IP, as well as restrictions barring licensees from reverse engineering the code at issue. The scope of protection, of course, depends on the final language of the licensing agreement and disputes can arise when licensees decide to develop similar software in-house, or with a third party.

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

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 Annual Regulatory Fees Due September 25 – Media Bureau Fee Filing Guide Available

Broadcast Law Blog

On Friday, the FCC released a Fact Sheet detailing the fees for broadcast and other licensees regulated by the Media Bureau and how those fees should be paid. The Fact Sheet links to this sheet for more information about how to access the FCC’s calculation of the specific amount owed for each of a licensee’s stations. Licensees who are in this de minimis category don’t even need to report that fact to the FCC – the Commission should be able to recognize that status on its own.

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

Another FCC Broadcast Case Designated for Hearing – With Much Different Stakes

Broadcast Law Blog

Issues were raised as to whether the licensee in its FCC applications lied to the FCC about whether its board of directors was made up of US citizens – there being substantial evidence that the board members were in fact citizens of other countries. The misrepresentation/lack of candor issue is one that can arise in any case where an FCC applicant or licensee does not truthfully answer a question on an FCC form or in some other FCC filing.

Overpower FM Translator Prompts $12,000 FCC Fine

Broadcast Law Blog

In an Order released earlier this week , the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau imposed a $12,000 fine on the licensee of an FM translator in California because FCC inspections revealed that the translator was operating above its licensed power. The FCC found that the station was operating with a Transmitter Power Output of 7.5 watts, yielding an Effective Radiated Power of 33.7 watts, when the station was only licensed for.005 watts TPO and 10 watts ERP.

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.

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. .

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.

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.

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.

FCC Application Fees Going Up

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released an Order announcing its adjustments to its application fees for commercial broadcasters and other FCC licensees. The fee schedule reflects a 3.7% cost of living increase in the processing fees that are paid when broadcasters file an application with the FCC. Fees for broadcast applications can be found starting at page 27 of the PDF containing the Order.

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!

Artist Rights Watch COUNTDOWN TO MODERNITY (11/16): Key Dates and Accomplishments for the Mechanical Licensing Collective Under the Music Modernization Act

Music Technology Policy

DLC=Digital Licensee Coordinator. As best we can tell from the outside looking in, this chart has the dates for key events in the critical path to launch for the Mechancial Licesing Collective as required by the Music Modernization Act. We have called the chart the “Countdown to Modernity.” ” This chart is a work in progress, and if anyone sees anything wrong in it or something that should be clarified or corrected, please let us know.

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.

Rule Takers vs. Rule Makers: Congress Should Support Startups in the Music Modernization Act

Music Technology Policy

MMA calls the services’ collective the “digital licensee coordinator” or the “DLC”. Because the MMA requires users of the license to pay for the lion’s share of the “administrative assessment,” the licensees’ collectivized administrative cost payment that the CBO estimates will be over $222 million for 8 years.

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.

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.

Five Things Congress Could Do for Music Creators That Wouldn’t Cost the Taxpayer a Dime Part 3: Create an Audit Right for Songwriters

Music Technology Policy

The user of the compulsory license (or “licensee”) has to comply with the rules for these licenses — including an obligation to account and pay royalties. If the licensee fails to comply, then the songwriter can in theory terminate the license, although making that termination stick usually requires an expensive copyright infringement lawsuit. This is because the government requires that the licensee merely “certifies” their own statements (i.e.,

Why Can’t Songwriters Audit? A Brief Guide to Statutory Audits Under the U.S. Copyright Act

Music Technology Policy

The main point that was added in these modifications was the right of songwriters and publishers to conduct an audit of the licensee, usually a record company (more properly, audits are called “royalty compliance examinations”). BLANCHE.

The Importance of Controlling Rights Data

Music Technology Policy

Make sure you have a written data confidentiality agreement that allows you to terminate any rights in the case of an assignment, sale or other transfer of the licensee’s company or assets. What’s the point of having good metadata and rights information for licensing? It should be to actually know who owns a song and who owns recordings of the song so you can get permission and pay for usage or block it.