FCC Proposes $20,000 Fine For Program-Length Commercial In Children’s Programming

The FCC’s Video Division yesterday issued a Notice of Apparent Liability to WUTB Baltimore for airing a commercial for a Hot Wheels product in eight showings of the program Team Hot Wheels.  The commission has, for almost 30 years, had a policy against what they term “program-length commercials” — programs that feature characters who are also featured in a commercial that runs during the program.

Gray Files Supreme Court Brief Supporting Modernized TV Station Ownership Rules

Gray’s brief argues that the FCC’s modernized rules should finally be allowed to take effect because the agency issued them in full compliance with its obligations under Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Trump’s FCC Nominee Sought To Enlist Fox’s Laura Ingraham In Anti-Tech Fight

FCC nominee Nathan Simington reached out to Fox News this summer in an attempt at “engaging” host Laura Ingraham to support President Donald Trump’s quest to make it easier to sue social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, according to emails obtained by Politico.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Dish’s Ergen In Hot Water At FCC

The FCC ruled unanimously Tuesday night that Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen improperly bid on $12 billion worth of wireless spectrum back in 2015, and received a $3-plus billion discount through a government program designed to benefit small businesses. Ergen bid on the spectrum not through Dish Network, a massive satellite and soon-to-be 5G carrier, but through an outfit known as Northstar Wireless, which he has a stake in.

DOJ Investigating Penske Media’s Purchase Of The Hollywood Reporter

How Joe Biden May Reshape The FCC

The new administration will likely expand broadband access, review media ownership rules and focus on “governing instead of de-governing” the airwaves.

FCC Streamlines Carriage, Access Complaint Process

The FCC has voted to speed up the program access, program carriage and retransmission consent complaint resolution process. That came at its virtual November public meeting Wednesday (Nov. 18). The vote was unanimous.

Two Trump Defamation Claims Dismissed

In the last few days, two defamation cases filed against media companies by the Trump campaign have been dismissed – one on the merits and one by agreement of the parties.  This includes the suit filed by the campaign against Northland Television, the licensee of a rural Wisconsin television station.  That station was perhaps the smallest TV station to air an ad by a non-candidate group, Priorities USA, that the Trump campaign alleged was misleadingly edited to assert that the President had labeled the coronavirus a “hoax.”

Court Orders Shutdown Of Illegal Streamer

A global coalition for the protection of online content has gotten a crystal clear ruling from a U.S. district court against an unauthorized streamer. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), whose members include the major legal content producers and streamers, from Amazon, AMC Networks and Apple TV to Viacom, Walt Disney Productions, and Warner Bros., said it has secured a permanent injunction against Crystal Clear Media (CCM).

FCC To SCOTUS: Restore Broadcast Dereg

The FCC has weighed in with the Supreme Court in defense of its order deregulating local broadcast ownership and in opposition to a lower court’s invalidation of that order. The crux of the FCC’s argument is that the lower court repeatedly prevented the commission from repealing or modifying rules it had concluded were no longer in the public interest.

Zuckerberg, Dorsey Face Harsh Questioning From Lawmakers

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter testified Tuesday about their platforms, misinformation and the 2020 election.

Clyburn Named To Biden FCC Transition Team

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped his FCC transition team and it includes several FCC vets including one of the leading candidates for the chairmanship, former commissioner and acting chair Mignon Clyburn. Leading the Biden FCC transition team is John Williams, senior counsel at House Judiciary.

FCC Extends COVID-19 Lifeline Waivers

The FCC has extended its existing COVID-19-related waivers related to the Lifeline phone/broadband communications subsidy through Feb. 28, 2021. The waivers deal with the program’s “recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, usage and income documentation requirements.” Without the extensions, those waivers would have expired Nov. 30.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Reflections On The Pai FCC Chairmanship

With the presidential election behind us (and make no mistake, it’s over), scholars are beginning to consider what tech policy under a Joe Biden administration may look like. But before getting there, it’s worthwhile to reflect on how Ajit Pai’s chairmanship has shaped the FCC and the future of tech policy.

Biden Is Bringing Back The Daily Briefing

President-elect Joe Biden’s return to “normalcy” will include restoring the daily press briefing — and at least two women are under consideration to lead the new post-Trump show, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Kate Bedingfield is seen as having the inside track to become either White House communications director or press secretary. Symone Sanders could be offered the role of incoming press secretary, or slot into another position before winding up “at the podium” down the line, Biden aides and other people in and around the transition say.

‘Judge Judy’ $22M Profits Lawsuit Heats Up

It probably won’t show up on Judge Judy’s newly announced court series for IMDbTV, but the multimillion dollar legal battle between Judith Sheindlin and Rebel Entertainment Partners is turning into even more of a bareknuckle brawl. With a history of indirect litigation over the past few years, both sides are now directly flinging terms like “vicious” and “baseless character assassination” at each other — and that’s just the polite stuff.

Judge Dismisses Trump Libel Suit Against CNN

The suit fails because Trump hasn’t shown actual malice on the part of an author who wrote that Trump’s campaign was soliciting Russia’s help in 2020.

Biden Taps Tech Executives For Transition Team

COMMENTARY BY JAMES PONIEWOZIK

President Trump’s Show Has Been Canceled

James Poniewozik: For years, we’ve been living inside a story defined by Donald Trump’s reality-TV worldview. America finally changed the channel.

NAB Seeks Licensed Status for Multicast Channels

As they transition to ATSC 3.0, the Next Gen TV transmission standard, broadcasters want the FCC to clarify/modify the TV station license framework for simulcasting to extend to multicast streams. The FCC is allowing stations to partner on distribution arrangements so that broadcasters can continue to deliver a primary stream in ATSC 1.0 given that ATSC 3.0 is not backward compatible with current sets. The NAB, in a petition for declaratory rulemaking, wants the FCC to declare that various multi-station arrangements for hosting and originating multicast streams in ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 are OK.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Under Biden, No Alarm Bells At FCC For Broadcasters

Broadcasters need not fret over much from a regime change at the FCC under President-Elect Biden. While further regulatory relief is unlikely and the UHF discount may disappear again, there may be a higher receptivity to affiliates’ call for extending their retransmission consent rights to virtual MVPDs.

Couple Complain Animal Planet Show Cast Them As Pot Growers

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A couple say they were cast in a false light on an Animal Planet reality television show about state Fish and Game conservation officers, but a lawyer for the show’s production companies disagreed in arguments before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The court heard arguments Tuesday involving Dale and Anne Mansfield, […]

LA Times, Tribune To Pay $3M To Settle Pay Discrimination Suit

The Los Angeles Times and Tribune Publishing have jointly agreed to pay $3 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by multi-ethnic group of journalists who claimed that they were systematically paid less than their white male counterparts.

India’s Broadcasting Ministry To Regulate Steaming Services, Online Content

TikTok Asks Court To Step In As Sale Deadline Looms

TikTok is asking a court to push off a looming deadline that would require the short-form video app to be spun off from its Chinese parent company ByteDance this week. The company on Tuesday petitioned a federal appeals court to halt the enforcement of an executive order put forth by President Donald Trump in August that would mandate the sale by Thursday.

Senate Committee Recommends Level Funding For CPB

The Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended level funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($465 million), as well as $29 million for the Ready to Learn early education initiative with the Department of Education, and $20 million to continue a noncommercial TV transmission tech upgrade.

Blumenthal Threatens Hold On Simington Nom

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) says he will put a hold on the nomination of Nate Simington for a Republican seat on the FCC until and unless he commits to recusing himself from any decision on the fate of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the legal provision that gives social media networks immunity from civil liability for how they moderate their networks.

Google Battles Marketers Over Antitrust Claims

Google has asked a judge to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by a group of marketers that allege the company monopolized “online display advertising services.” “The whole is no greater than the sum of the parts, and the amalgam does not add up to a monopolization claim,” Google argues in papers filed Monday with U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose.

Kenneth Robinson, Longtime FCC Lawyer, Dies At 75

Comcast, TiVo End 4-Year Patent Fight

New TiVo parent company Xperi Holdings reaches a retroactive IP licensing deal with the cable giant that runs from 2016 to 2031.