NAB To Supreme Court: Dereg Is The Statutory Prime Directive In Ownership Rule Review

Broadcasters are telling the Supreme Court that a lower court’s rejection of the FCC’s broadcast dereg decision was a recipe for “judicial intervention run riot” and that diversity alone cannot be invoked to block deregulation of rules that marketplace changes have rendered unsupportable and no longer necessary in the public interest.

Copyright Royalty Board Announces Audits

The Copyright Royalty Board today published a Federal Register notice announcing that SoundExchange was auditing a number of broadcasters and other webcasters to assess their compliance with the statutory music licenses provided by Sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act for the public performance of sound recordings and ephemeral copies made in the digital transmission process by commercial webcasters.

Trump Prepares Pardon List For Aides, Family And Maybe Himself

President Donald Trump has prepared a sweeping list of individuals he’s hoping to pardon in the final days of his administration that includes senior White House officials, family members, prominent rappers — and possibly himself, according to people familiar with the matter. Trump is hoping to announce the pardons on Jan. 19 — his final full day in office — and his ideas are currently being vetted by senior advisers and the White House counsel’s office, the people said.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Estrella Media Names Arya Towfighi EVP, General Counsel

Estrella Media, a vertically integrated, multi-platform, Spanish-language media company, today appointed Arya Towfighi executive vice president and general counsel. Towfighi joined Estrella Media in November 2019 as a senior vice president, overseeing the company’s legal functions. His role has now been expanded to include oversight of the human resources, communications, and business affairs functions of the company. Towfighi […]

TRUMP SUPPORTERS STORM CAPITOL, SPURRING LOCKDOWN

Protesters loyal to President Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, halting Congress’s counting of the electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory as the police evacuated lawmakers from the building.

Former FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly Joins Hudson Institute

Hudson Institute today announced that Michael O’Rielly, a former commissioner of the FCC, will join its Center for the Economics of the Internet as a visiting fellow. “We are pleased to have an individual with Commissioner O’Rielly’s experience and insights join Hudson,” said Hudson Senior Fellow Harold Furchtgott-Roth. Founded in 1961 by strategist Herman Kahn, the […]

Trump Bans Alipay, WeChat, Other Chinese-Connected Apps

President Donald Trump has issued an executive order essentially banning a host of Chinese-connected software applications, including Alipay and Wechat, saying the ban targeted apps that “access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information,” by accessing smartphones, computers and tablets.

Google Must Face Claims It Overcharged For Pay-Per-Click Ads

 

A federal appellate court has revived a class-action complaint alleging that Google overcharged pay-per-click advertisers by reneging on a promise to discount some ads, and failing to limit ads by location.

Charter Settles With Women Who Filed 2019 Gender, Age Discrimination Lawsuit Against NY1

Mark Schlefer, Who Helped Write FOIA Legislation, Dies At 98

Disney Lobbyist Richard Bates Dies

Richard M. Bates, longtime senior vice president, U.S. government relations for the Walt Disney Co., has died. Since 2010, Bates oversaw Disney’s interactions with federal and state government entities and trade associations. He was a 29-year Disney veteran. Prior to working for Disney, Bates served as executive director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

McConnell Ties $2,000 Checks To Section 230

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled Wednesday that the Senate would not be voting on the House-passed Bill (HR 9051) providing $2,000 COVID-19 relief check — a figure suggested by President Trump — essentially adding the poison pill of Sec. 230 to any vote on such relief, something Democrats signaled they weren’t going to support.

Judge Rules For Fairness Review In ViacomCBS Merger Shareholder Lawsuit

The 2019 Viacom-CBS merger will undergo strict legal scrutiny now that a Delaware Chancery Court judge has allowed a lawsuit to proceed from shareholders who say they were shortchanged in the transaction because of pressure applied by ViacomCBS controlling shareholder Shari Redstone.

Noncom TVs Back NextGen Multicast Flexibility

Public broadcasters are backing their commercial counterparts’ request that the FCC “clarify” or establish flexibility when it comes to multicast channels, both in ATSC 1.0 and using the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast transmission standard (branded NextGen TV).

TVN FOCUS: YEAR IN REVIEW

As 2020 Fades To Black, We Say Goodbye

This year, TVNewsCheck reported on the deaths of outstanding men and women who shaped television as actors, lawmakers, producers, business people, journalists and on-air personalities. Here’s a look back at some of those influencers.

FCC’s New Comish, Nathan Simington, Staffs Up

New FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington has begun staffing up, though all in “acting” roles. According to his office, he has named Tyler Bridegan as acting media adviser, Erion Boone as acting wireless adviser and Jonathan Cannon as acting wireline adviser.

January Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters

The new year will bring big changes to the Washington broadcast regulation scene, with the inauguration of a new president and installation of a new FCC chair who will make an imprint on the agency with his or her own priorities. And routine regulatory dates and deadlines will continue to fill up a broadcaster’s calendar. So let’s look at what to expect in the world of Washington regulation in the coming month.

McConnell: Senate Will Launch Look At Sec. 230

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that this week the Senate “will begin a process” of bringing the priority of reviewing and potentially revising Section 230 “into focus.” That came in his opening remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday as the Senate prepared to vote Wednesday to override the president’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Biden Names Digital Communications Team

President-elect Joe Biden has named a bunch of folks to help him and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris use new tech to communicate, both his own social media accounts and new online venues. They will staff a new White House Office of Digital Strategy. “A reflection of the critical role digital strategy plays in reaching the American people,” the office is billed as a diverse team that will help “amplify and engage” online users.

FAA Issues New Drone Rules

The FAA on Monday said its long-awaited rules for the drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, will address security concerns by requiring remote identification technology in most cases to enable their identification from the ground. Previously, small drone operations over people were limited to operations over people who were directly participating in the operation, located under a covered structure, or inside a stationary vehicle — unless operators had obtained a waiver from the FAA.

Teacher Files Copyright Infringement Suit Against Netflix’s ‘Outer Banks’

US Appeals Order Blocking TikTok Restrictions

The U.S. government on Monday appealed a federal judge’s order that blocked the Commerce Department from imposing restrictions on Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok that would have effectively barred its use in the United States.

Lori Loughlin Released From Prison

Full House actor Lori Loughlin was released from the federal lockup in Dublin, California, where she had been serving her sentence for her role in the college admissions bribery scheme, the federal Bureau of Prisons today.

Draft Would Overhaul Digital Copyright Enforcement

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis (N.C.) is floating a plan to revise copyright enforcement, requiring tech companies to take a more active role in policing their sites for piracy by users.

Trump Signs Massive COVID Relief Bill

The massive bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as an increase in food stamp benefits.

Time Running Out For FCC To Take Up Trump Attack On Social Media

The FCC has run low on time to adopt an order trimming a liability shield for social media companies, leaving the fate of a request from President Donald Trump in doubt. Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai let slip a Wednesday deadline for setting a vote on the proposal at the next monthly meeting of the agency, which is scheduled for Jan. 13 and is the last before he leaves the commission a week later.

President Trump Approves Journalists Memorial

President Trump has signed into law the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, which authorizes the building of a national memorial in Washington honoring journalists who have died in the line of duty, that duty being keeping the world informed.

Google Rejects DOJ Antitrust Claims In Court Filing

Google is pushing back in court this week on antitrust claims brought against it by the Justice Department two months ago. In a legal filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Google denied or partially rejected almost 200 specific complaints against it. On only one count, that Google was a “founded […]

Netflix Beats ‘Laundromat’ Libel Claims

Netflix has scored a First Amendment victory against a law firm that advises the rich and powerful throughout the world. On Wednesday, a California federal judge granted the streamer’s motion to dismiss libels claims made by the law firm of Mossack Fonseca over The Laundromat.

FCC Extends Some Filing Deadlines

The FCC is extending Dec. 24 filing deadlines essentially at the behest of the president. That is due to President Trump’s Dec. 11 executive order closing agencies and executive departments on Christmas Eve. According to FCC rules, if a filing deadline falls on a holiday, which the executive order makes Dec. 24, they must be filed on the next business day, which would be Monday, Dec. 28.