Archives: Enforcement Activities (Fines, Forfeitures, etc.)

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FCC Imposes $55,000 Fine for Inappropriate Use of EAS Tones

Continuing its historical hard line on misuse of EAS tones, the FCC announced on May 30 that it had settled an investigation with WTLV, a TEGNA-owned television station in Jacksonville, Florida regarding unauthorized EAS tones appearing in an ad for the Jacksonville Jaguars (the local NFL team).  As part of the settlement, TEGNA entered into … Continue Reading

FCC Looks to Modernize Media Regulations

Last month, the FCC launched a new proceeding with an extremely broad goal of modernizing its media regulations.  The very brief (less than three page) Public Notice launching the proceeding, which Chairman Pai previewed in his speech at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, asks for comment on almost any media regulation considered “outdated, unnecessary, … Continue Reading

FCC v. Colbert – A Controversy Based on Truth or Truthiness?

Last Monday, during his monologue on the Late Show, Stephen Colbert made a number of jokes at President Donald Trump’s expense, including lobbing a series of insults at the President.  (The full monologue is available here; check around 11:15 for the portion that has gotten folks talking).   One of these insults, which included a joking … Continue Reading

Company Fined $60k for Not Seeking Prior OK to Transfer Licenses

Continued use of expired licenses leads to enforcement action The FCC recently released an Order and Consent Decree that, with a $60,000 fine, acts as a bold reminder to manufacturers, utilities, and other companies that they must seek prior Commission approval to transfer FCC dispatch/internal communications licenses when the licensee company is purchased by or … Continue Reading

Are Alternative Inspection FCC Notifications Still Needed?

Is there an easier way to notify the Commission when a station has taken part in the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP)? Or does the FCC need to be notified at all? The agency seeks public input on the issue. The alternative program is a series of agreements between the Enforcement Bureau and a private … Continue Reading

Six-Figure Fine for Failing to Focus on Former Felonies

Many FCC forms completed on a “routine” basis may need extra attention. Anyone who fills in pretty much any FCC form should be familiar with the certifications required by those forms. Anyone who “signs” an FCC form (whether electronically or otherwise) must be familiar with them; more importantly, the signatory must be sure that the … Continue Reading

Marketing Wi-Fi Gear with Changeable Country Code Draws $200,000 Penalty … and More

Novel consent decree provision requires company to “share information” with third-party software developers and others. In what might ordinarily have been a run-of-the-mill consent decree between Wi-Fi equipment manufacturer TP-Link and the FCC, the company has admitted to selling potentially overpowered Wi-Fi routers and has agreed to pay a fine of $200,000 – toward the … Continue Reading

FCC Works its Will on the WISP, Part II: Sentence Suspended, Somewhat

$202k fine reduced to $40k … but there’s a catch. Three years ago – doesn’t the time just fly? – we told you about Towerstream, a wireless Internet service provider (WISP) whose transmitters had caused interference to airport weather radars. The FCC proposed a fine of $202,000, apparently in keeping with its rumored policy of … Continue Reading

FCC Forfeiture Limits Increased Across the Board

Keeping up with the cost-of-living … If you happened to feel a vague, somewhat disturbing, shudder recently, don’t worry: it was just the upper limit of potential FCC fines being raised across the board. By Order effective July 1, 2016 (or maybe August 1 – we’ll get to that), the Commission followed up on a … Continue Reading

On the Way Out: Two Vestigial Remnants of Pre-Online Public File Universe

Commission proposes to eliminate obligations to include public correspondence in commercial broadcasters’ public files, headend location information in cable operators’. Following through on a promise it made in January, the Commission has proposed to eliminate one element of its local public inspection file rules for broadcasters, and it has now proposed to do the same … Continue Reading

FCC to Wrongdoers: Answer Your Mail!

Failure to respond to FCC notices can have adverse consequences. When the FCC proposed to fine Chinese company C.T.S. Technology $34,912,500 a couple of years ago for marketing jammers in the United States, we predicted it would have trouble collecting. Silly us – we underestimated the FCC’s problems in even communicating with C.T.S., which did not … Continue Reading

Irony Alert: Government Honors Recording Government Criminalizes

You may want to strap yourself in for this one – to avoid the intellectual whiplash that might otherwise result. Every year, the National Recording Preservation Board – a federal organization comprised of esteemed composers, musicians, musicologists, librarians, archivists, and representatives of the recording industry – undertakes a duty assigned to it by our elected … Continue Reading

New Math, Enforcement Bureau Style

In two similar cases (with markedly different results), the Bureau demonstrates that the calculation of fines is not art, and certainly not science. Maybe we’re just not very smart, but we can’t figure out the FCC’s rationale for penalizing certain categories of wrongdoers. Take, for example, the case of Taylor Oilfield Manufacturing, Inc., located in … Continue Reading

Justice for Jersey Jetway GPS Jammer? 90% Reduction in Fine!

Despite 2012 interference to Newark airport GPS system, Gary Bojczak skates with lowball $2,360 fine – if he keeps his jammer off for three years. Readers with long memories will recall Mr. Gary P. Bojczak, who operated an illegal jammer in order (apparently) to defeat the GPS tracking device his employer had installed in his … Continue Reading

Update: Revised Broadcast Contest Rules Now In Effect

It’s official! Last fall’s overhaul of the rules governing licensee-conducted broadcast contests has finally become effective. According to a notice in the Federal Register, our friends at the Office of Management and Budget gave the new rules the big thumbs up last week, and the rules have now taken effect as of February 12, 2016. … Continue Reading

$500K+ Spanking for Sponsorship ID Miscue

Enforcement Bureau extracts half-million dollar “civil penalty” AND an extensive compliance plan commitment from Cumulus for spots which it didn’t even sell. The Enforcement Bureau has scored another trophy for its burgeoning trophy room of extravagant penalties. This time, it’s $540,000 extracted from Cumulus for a supposedly inadequate sponsorship identification on a number of spots … Continue Reading

Ouch! Out-Sized Penalty for Ordinary Outfit Overlooking Obligations

Sheet-metal company to pay $135,000 for license-related paperwork violations; offenses included operation after expiration and unauthorized transfer of control. Many businesses must comply with the FCC’s rules, even though they may not know it. Failing to understand this can prove expensive. Just ask Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, LLC. According to its website, Constellium is one … Continue Reading

Non-Specific Rule, Non-Specific Violation, Very Specific Fine

The rule says to take precautions, but not what precautions to take. The licensee says it took precautions, but they didn’t work. The Enforcement Bureau says, “$25,000, please”. Suppose the rules governing operation on shared two-way channels are unspecific, mostly saying operators must take reasonable precautions to avoid interference. The rules don’t actually prohibit interference; … Continue Reading

Dear Mr. Kozol: The FCC Has Bad News for You

An FCC order requires the resident either to find and fix the source of interference in his house, or else allow FCC staff to come in and do it. Mr. Edward R. Kozol of Lemont, Illinois, you have our sympathy. That cell tower south of where you live, over by I-395, is picking up interference. … Continue Reading

“Enhanced” Interference Complaint Process: Your Complaint is Important to Us; Please Remain on the Line.

As Field Offices are shuttered, Enforcement Bureau touts improved “transparency, consistency, and predictability” in complaint responses. As we reported in July, the FCC is saying sayonara to 11 of its 24 Field Offices. Also as we reported, when it announced that cut-back on July 16, the Commission committed to issuing, within six weeks, “new procedures … Continue Reading

Out on a Limb on the Family Tree: Amateur Loses Claimed Great-Great-Uncle’s Vanity Call Sign

Surprisingly, the rights to some call signs turn on degrees of relatedness. Most of our postings here deal with grave concerns of policy and regulation. Once in a while, though, a not-so-grave item catches our eye. From one such we learned that, even in the American meritocracy, it really all depends on who you’re related … Continue Reading

Enforcement Bureau Gives Venue Operators 750,000 More Reasons Not to Block Personal Hotspots

Bureau reiterates view that using “deauthentication frames” to bounce hotspot users constitutes prohibited “interference”. Conference goers, rejoice! It looks like the FCC really is serious about preventing hotels and other conference venues from blocking access to the venues’ Wi-Fi networks through personal “hotspot” network devices. The Commission’s Enforcement Bureau had staked out its position on … Continue Reading

FCC to Rest of World: Take an Extra Long Labor Day Weekend … and Keep Your Fingers Crossed

Commission extends due dates in advance of upgrade of all electronic filing systems and electronic dockets. If you’ve got something due to be filed at the FCC between September 2-8, 2015, you just got an extension … to September 9. Happy Labor Day! For this you can thank the Commission’s IT gurus, who are going … Continue Reading
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