legals notes Ch 11

legals notes Ch 11 - CH 11 Regulation of Electronic Media...

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CH 11: Regulation of Electronic Media… YAY! Broadcasters may be sued for : Libel Invasion of privacy Copyright infringement Also face issues with : Advertising regulation Antitrust law Restrictions on their access to information The electronic media must also contend with direct government regulation by the Federal   Communications Commission  (FCC) -a broadcaster must get a license from the FCC before going on the air and must renew  it periodically **Cable companies are not formally licensed by the FCC, but they are subject to various  federal laws (aka FCC regulations and rules imposed by the local governments that  grant their franchises) -license and franchise renewal is not automatic: - RKO General  fought a 20 year legal battle against government sanctions that  nearly forced the company to forfeit 13 radio and TV licenses worth about 1  billion dollars on the open market. RKO lost its license to operate a TV station in  Boston a license worth at least $150 million at the time – and was forced to sell a  number of other stations as bargain basement prices. Scarcity spectrum (book)/airwaves spectrum theory (notes) the idea that because  only a limited number of frequencies are available, and the number of stations that may  transmit at one time without causing interference is also limited, so this justifies  government regulation of broadcasting. Radio spectrum:  the limited frequencies and stations that occupy them -Congress declared that the entire radio spectrum would be used to serve  the  public interest, convenience and necessity -those who are chosen to use the limited space available in the radio  spectrum have a special obligation to the public (the FCC was  established to regulate broadcasting and other non-governmental uses of  the radio spectrum) FCC’s Two Main Functions: 1. Authorizing various individuals to transmit in the radio spectrum (the licensing  function)
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2. Regulating those licensees (a supervisory function) **although cable television systems use wires rather than the airwaves to deliver  programming to their subscribers, the FCC has broad jurisdiction over cable  systems too. FCC 1960’s:  FCC saw itself as a super media critic, nudging and cajoling broadcasters  to offer what FCC officials considered to be better programming and better public service  (threatened government intervention if quality didn’t improve). FCC 1980’s:  FCC took a series of controversial steps to deregulate the broadcast and  cable industries. The FCC adopted the philosophy that competition is healthy, and that  more competition equals better public service.  Telecommunications Act 1996:
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