The Federal Trade Commission’s proposal to ban noncompete agreements would be an economic game changer, affecting up to one-fifth of American workers. Noncompetes forbid workers from starting a similar company or working at a rival firm for up to several years. The agency is right to be concerned. It should move forward with a partial ban covering low- and middle-income workers.
President Joe Biden plans to call for stringent curbs on targeted advertising data collection in Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address. “Big Tech companies collect huge amounts of data on the things we buy, the websites we visit, and the places we go,” the White House stated in a fact sheet outlining Biden’s speech. “There should be clear and strict limits on the ability to collect, use, transfer, and maintain our personal data, especially for sensitive data such as geolocation and health information, and the burden must fall on companies — not consumers — to minimize how much information they collect.”
The Federal Trade Commission is preparing a potential antitrust lawsuit against Amazon Inc. that in the coming months could challenge an array of the tech giant’s business practices as anticompetitive, according to people familiar with the matter. The timing of any case remains in flux, some of the people said. The commission also could opt not to proceed, and doesn’t always bring cases even when it is making preparations to do so.
The commission should heed broadcasters’ request to prioritize the ATSC 3.0 standard and launch a task force to concentrate the agency’s resources in getting it unstuck. Broadcasting’s future wellbeing may depend on it.
The National Association of Broadcasters is suggesting the FCC is putting the 2018 quadrennial review cart before the 2022 quadrennial horse, asking the agency to finish its 2018 review before starting the next one.
DirecTV is getting more pressure — this time from a group of Senate Republicans — over its decision to drop the conservative Newsmax network after a carriage agreement expired. In response to the DirecTV move and Newsmax complaints, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee; Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Mike Lee (R-Utah); and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote the CEOs of DirecTV and parents AT&T and TPG Capital, voicing concerns and “demanding” answers.
The Department of Justice should urge the Supreme Court to rule on the validity of laws in Florida and Texas that prohibit social media platforms from suppressing some posts by users, the tech-industry backed policy group Chamber of Commerce says.
Citing a smear campaign to continue to prevent Gigi Sohn from being seated as the fifth FCC commissioner, former Fox and ABC/Disney executive Preston Padden has written the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee to call out those tactics and advocate for Sohn, with whom he is not aligned politically.
He succeeds the retiring David Keneipp in overseeing all the group’s legal functions.
Former President Trump is suing journalist Bob Woodward over interview recordings that Trump alleges he didn’t agree could be included in an audiobook. Trump concedes that he consented to Woodward recording their conversations for the purpose of a book, and gave 19 interviews to the veteran journalist in 2019 and 2020, which Woodward included in his 2020 book Rage. But the former president is arguing the agreement doesn’t cover the inclusion of those audio files in The Trump Tapes, an audiobook collection of the recordings published by Simon & Schuster last year.
The cable giant, armed with $6.1 billion of free cash flow to help it appeal forever, reduces the latest settlement offer to fit within its insurance coverage.
Australian content quotas will be placed on Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and the other international streamers. Plans to impose quotas were unveiled this morning as part of the Australian government’s ‘Revive’ National Cultural Policy. The five-year policy plan aims to shake-up the country’s wider cultural landscape.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is urging Congress to move the nomination of Gigi Sohn to be the fifth member of the FCC. “It is outrageous that the FCC has gone without a full slate of commissioners while the nomination of the supremely qualified and prepared nominee, Gigi Sohn, languishes amidst lies and homophobia,“ Markey said. He is primarily addressing fellow Democrats since they control the gavel in committees and have the votes to discharge the nomination from the committee and approve her to the commission if they are all on board.
The National Association of Broadcasters said that without some action by the FCC, including sunsetting the requirement to broadcast in both the current and next-generation transmission formats, that next-generation format — the ATSC 3.0 transmission standard — is “in peril,” and with it broadcasters’ future.
Media mogul Byron Allen appears to be courting major Democratic politicians once again as he attempts to stop hedge fund Standard General’s $8.6 billion acquisition of TV station giant Tegna, according to a prominent Beltway research firm. Last Friday he hosted an event at his Los Angeles home for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies (D-N.Y.) and Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) with guests that also included Nancy Pelosi.
Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has been named chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee by E&C chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). Latta had been ranking member of the subcommittee. The committee has primary oversight of the FCC.
Former Fox News staffer Laura Luhn has sued the network and its parent company over alleged “decades-long” sexual abuse and blackmail by late CEO Roger Ailes. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday under New York’s recently enacted Adult Survivor’s Act, names Fox News, parent company 21st Century Fox and former network executive William Shine as defendants. It alleges Ailes, who died in 2017, “used his position as the head of Fox News to trap Laura W. Luhn in a decades-long cycle of sexual abuse.”
The FCC has levied a fine of $504,000 against Fox for “willfully violating” commission rules on transmitting EAS tones during regular programming. The violation occurred during an NFL promo aired Nov. 28, 2021. Fox described the promotional segment as a “short comedic advertisement” for an upcoming game, which was aired as part of the Fox NFL Sunday pre-game show.
The New York Times asked a judge on Wednesday to unseal some legal filings that contain previously undisclosed evidence in a defamation suit brought against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems, a company targeted with conspiracy theories about rigged machines and stolen votes in the 2020 election. Most of the evidence in the case — including text messages and emails taken from the personal phones of Fox executives, on-air personalities and producers in the weeks after the election — has remained under seal at the request of lawyers for the network.
The Justice Department is apparently giving broadcasters some help with one of their top Washington priorities — Big Tech’s dominance as an ad platform. As expected, the DOJ on Jan. 24 said it was filing an antitrust suit against one of the biggest of Big Tech — Google parent Alphabet — over its online ad practices, a move that could lead to Google divesting its ad business and aid TV stations in what the NAB Broadcasters has called Big Tech’s “stranglehold” on digital advertising and ad rates.
The scandal has already cost the troubled regional sports network its president and CFO.
It is beginning to look like the 2-2 deadlock that has marked the FCC for the past two years is not about to come to an end in the near-term, even though Democrats now have an extra vote in the Senate to confirm Gigi Sohn. As the Senate returns from a two-week recess, there is a growing expectation that Sohn’s nomination will need to go through a full confirmation process once again — including a third hearing in front of the Senate Commerce Committee.
The government alleges that Google’s plan to assert dominance has been to “neutralize or eliminate” rivals through acquisitions and to force advertisers to use its products by making it difficult to use competitors’ products.
ANNAPOLIS, Md (AP) — The Maryland Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling that the state’s first-in-the-nation tax on digital is unconstitutional. The court announced Friday that it will hear an appeal from Maryland’s comptroller in May. Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Alison Asti ruled in October that the Maryland […]