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Law Exam 1
Undergraduate 3

Additional Law Flashcards




Commissioners of the FCC
1. Julius Genachowski- head commissioner
2. Michael J. Copps
3. Robert M. McDowel
4. Mignon Clayburn
5. Had other plans

• Usually don’t serve more than one term
The FCC Offices
In charge of how the FCC runs
The Office of Managing Director
• COO (Chief Operating Officer) of FCC
• In charge of all physical assets
• Ultimate budget person
• Responsible for all computer and network equipment
• They can watch and listen to any channel they like (have equipment to do so)
Office of Administrative Law Judges
• FCC’s internal Judiciary bench
• Where all the judges are located
• Duties
1. If someone has a complaint they go to the OALJ
2. Preside over public hearings for the FCC
3. Judge has to write a published summary of any public hearings
Office of General Council
• Where the lawyers are
• Internal law firm for the FCC
• Duties
1. Legal reference for the FCC
2. Represent FCC in court
Office of Legislative Affairs
• Represents FCC in congress
• Liaison of all other IRA’s government
Office of Inspector General
• Internal affairs office of the FCC
• Make sure no one is ripping off the FCC that works there
• Monitor and create programs for the prevention of fraud, waste and abuse
Office of Media Relations
• PR arm of the FCC
• Want to set up an interview with the commissioners? Talk to OMR
• Responsible for the FCC website
• Anything that goes out to the public is handled by OMR
Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis (OOSPPA)
• Does all number crunching and stats for the FCC
• Responsible for planning for new technology and future inventions
Office of Workplace Diversity
• Equal employment opportunity place
• Makes sure no one gets discriminated against
Office of Communications Business Opportunity
• Responsible for getting more small business owners, females, and minorities into broadcasting and the FCC
• Provide training money and opportunities for the above stated
Office of Engineering and Technology
• Advise FCC on technology or engineering information
FCC Bureau's
Where the regulation happens
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
• Developes and implements the FCC’s policies
• Acts as liaison for state local and tribal governments in regard to emergency system training
Enforcement Bureau
• Enforce the provisions of the communications act, any and all rules that come from the commissioners
• Local competition enforcement
• Public safety and homeland security rules (emergency alert system)
Media Bureau
1. Develops, recommends, and administers the policy and licensing programs, relating to electronic media including cable TV, broadcast TV and radio in the US and its territories
2. Post licensing matters regarding direct broadcast satellite
Audio Division
1. Licenses commercial, non-commercial and educational AM, FM, LPFM, FM Translator (takes signal and sends it out on a different frequency) and FM Booster (sends signal on the same frequency but stronger)
Video Division
1. Licenses commercial, non-commercial and educational TV, Low Power TV, TV translator, Class A TV (independent or public station that got on VHF frequency) and TV Booster
Policy Division
1. Figure out policies for the bookkeeping side of the FCC
2. Handles external equal employment opportunity for all licensees
Industry Analysis Division
Miniature OOSPPA
Engineering Division
1. Help FCC on any technical issue
2. Help advise FCC on how it works
Office of Communication Industry Information
1. Same as office of legislative affairs
2. Represents Media Bureau in Congress
Management and Resources Staff
1. Same as office of managing director
2. Subdivides budget for media bureau
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
• Handles all FCC domestic wireless telecommunication programs and policies except satalite and public safety broadcasting
• Any time a frequency opens up they get to auction it off
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
• Response to 911 and Katrina
• In charge of 911 network
• Clearing house for all info in a national emergency
• Vonage
Wireline Competition Bureau
• Wireline- Method of transmitting data using a fixed physical connection such as metal wire or fiber optic cable- telephone, DSL
International Bureau
• License and regulate any communication that crosses a national border
• Licenses satellite
• Regulates daily operation of direct tv and dish network
FCC Enforcement Levels
• Level 1: Letters
o Send a letter that says they’re watching you
• Level 2: Consent Orders
o Letter that says please stop what you’re doing and respond in writing about how it wont happen again
o Mild
• Level 3:Cease and Desist Orders
o Get letter signed by federal judge that says stop now or you will be thrown in jail
o More serious
• Level 4: Forfeiture
o Fines
• Level 5: Short-Term License Renewal
o Probation
o Clean up your act or youre done
• Level 6: Deny License Renewal/Revocation of existing license
o Turn off your transmitter
• Level 7: Court Proceedings/Actions
o Go to jail
o Usually involves federal authorities
Political Broacasting Rules
• Political speech is a unique type of speech in the US
• Nothing in the Comm act that limits political speech
Section 312 (a) (7)
• Licensees may lose their license “for willful or repeated failure to allow reasonable access to or to permit purchase of reasonable amounts of time for the use of a broadcasting station by a legally qualified candidate for federal elective office on behalf of his candidacy”
• The “Reasonable Access Rule/Clause”
• “Federal elective office”
1. President, Vice President, Senate, House of Representatives
• Legally Qualified candidates
1. Must prove that they have formally announced their candidacy
2. Must meet applicable sate laws like residency and age
3. Must either qualify for place on the ballot of be funning as a write-in candidate, be eligible to be voted on, and make a substantial showing of candidacy
• “Reasonable access”
1. Negotiable based on how far away the election is or how much support a candidate has in pre-election polls
• This section makes clear that licensees have a responsibility to allow
1. Legally qualified candidates
2. For federal elective office
3. Reasonable access time
Section 315 (a) Equal Time Provisions
• “If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for ANY public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford wqual opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station: provided what such licensee shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast under the provisions of this section”
• Can’t ask candidate to tone down the message and you cant bleep the or censor an image
Exceptions to the Equal Time rule
• Bona fide newscast
o Mit Romney comes to Lansing and all the news stations cover it
• Bona fide news interview
o News organizations ask questions and do an interview
• Bona fide news documentary
o Documentary about campaigning with McCain
• On-the-spot news coverage of a bona fide news event
o Hurricane happens and republican candidate goes to support relief effort and news covers it
• Press conference qualifies as on-the-spot news coverage of a bona fide news event
• Electronic media can organize and cover their own debates
o They can also limit their invitation to certain candidates
Section 315 (b)
• “The charges made for the use of any broadcasting station by any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office in connection with his campaign for nomination to election, or election, to such office shall not exceed- • During the forty-five days preceding the date of a primary or primary runoff election and during the sixty days preceding the date of a general or special election in which such person is a candidate, the lowest unit charge of the station for the same amount of time for the same period; and • At any other time, the charges made for comparable use of such station by other users thereof • Whats the cheapest price you gave anyone in this time period and then you have to sell it to them at that price • You charge regularly during non-election time
Broadcasters have no write over the censorship of political advertising
• The stations cant be blamed for any of it though
• The “Bonzo” rule
o Ronald Reagan was in movies before politics, when he ran for governor of California a tv station started playing all of his movies, his opponent asked for equal time
o Appearances by so-called “celebrity guests” on regular programming will obligate the station to provide equal time to there opponents
• Remains in effect currently
Section 317
• “All matter broadcast by any radio station for which any money, service, or other valuable consideration is directly or indirectly paid, or accepted by, the station so broadcasting, from any person, shall, at the time the same is so broadcast, be announced as paid for or furnished, as the case may be, by such person”
• if anyone is paying you in any way shape or form you are legally required to tell the audience who paid for it
o Radio ad- “CMU is a great place to go”
o “Paid for by the SGA” vs. “paid for by the PR department at CMU”
o You will take each very differently
CBS, Inc. vs. FCC (1982) SCotUS
• Defining case for 312 a7
• The “Carter-Mondale” case
• Finding: it is up to the FCC to determine when a campaign has begun for the purpose of implementing reasonable access
o Whenever the FCC says campaigning season has begun, that’s when it begins
1980: Barry Commoner and LaDonna Harris
• “Bullshit Commercial”
• The ad contained several instances of the word bullshit and had to be played under the rule of 315 a
1984: Larry Flynt
• X-Rated campaign advertisment
• Department of something won in supreme court because ad was considered obscene
• Made it a criminal offense to air obscene material on public airwaves
• Case found the limits of 315 a
1991: FCC clarifies section 315
• Broadcasters must inform candidates of all time classifications and inform them of any discounts or regular lower prices given to advertisers in the past year
• Asserted jurisdiction over candidate overpayment cases
• “Stations must treat political candidates as their most favored advertisers”
• Implemented a new complaint procedure
• Last minute weekend access, 3 conditions- if all are true then the time has to be sold
1. During the previous year someone got weekend access
2. Has to be someone at the office to process the sale
3. Has to be someone there to implement ad, put it into the rotation
• Licensees were able to refuse to run political ads during newscasts
1999: Additional FCC Guidlines
• In 1994, FCC let broadcaster limit length of Political ads to either :30 seconds or “program length”
• 1999 ruling reversed that decision
o “a station may not reject out of hand a non-standard length political advertisement”
Political Broadcasting Rules
• With regard to cost, all non-standard political ad request must be looked at on a case by case basis
• May be rejected if:
1. The likelihood of significant disruption of the programming schedule
2. The request does not allow sufficient time to notify a station’s audience of the schedule change
3. The candidate in question has already purchased a significant amount of air time
Rules of Being a Commissioner
1. As a commissioner you may not have any financial stake in any communication business
2. When appointed you are appointed for a 5 year term
3. 5 commissioners- no more than 3 can be from any party (3 democrats 2 republicans)
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