Cable Trade Groups Take FCC To Court Over Digital Discrimination Rules

Cable-affiliated internet service providers (ISPs) are challenging new federal digital discrimination rules in federal court in Washington, the second major legal case to target the rules. The suit was filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by NCTA – The Internet & Television Association and ACA Connects, which combined represent hundreds of broadband ISPs, the vast majority of them small.

Republicans Want SCOTUS To Restrict White House Contact With Tech Platforms

Forty-five House Republicans are urging the Supreme Court to uphold an injunction that could prevent White House officials from discussing controversial matters with personnel at social media platforms. The injunction, issued in September by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, prohibits some government officials from attempting to “coerce or significantly encourage” platforms’ content moderation decisions. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Friday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and other lawmakers claim the injunction is justified, arguing that the Biden administration “repeatedly used government coercion to stifle public debate.”

NCTA: Local Governments Can’t Tax Broadband Revenue

Cable’s largest trade association is issuing a new reminder that cities can’t impose fees on cable operators’ broadband revenue. NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, in a Feb. 7 letter to the FCC, cited federal law that requires cable to pay local franchise fees based on a percentage of gross revenue derived from cable service. Broadband is not a cable service but rather an information service.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Cable Industry Blasts FTC Push To Outlaw ‘Junk Fees’

The cable and broadband lobby is blasting the Federal Trade Commission’s proposal to outlaw junk fees, arguing the potential rules are not only unconstitutional but would also disrupt ad practices throughout the country.

Former TikTok Executive Sues The Company, Alleging Gender And Age Discrimination

Katie Puris, who was the Global Head of Brand & Creative at TikTok, alleged in a lawsuit filed this week in a Manhattan federal court that she was fired in 2022 after making internal complaints about gender and age discrimination linked to what she called a preference among company executives for hiring young people.

AccuWeather Appoints Rushelle Bailey General Counsel

AccuWeather, a global provider of weather forecasting services, has appointed Rushelle Y. Bailey general counsel. In this role, Bailey provides strategic counsel to AccuWeather’s leadership and directs the company’s legal […]

AI & THE MEDIA

FCC Bans AI-Generated Voices In Robocalls

Effective immediately, the regulation empowers the FCC to fine companies that use AI voices in their calls or block the service providers that carry them. It also opens the door for call recipients to file lawsuits and gives state attorneys general a new mechanism to crack down on violators, according to the FCC.

‘Days Of Our Lives’ Actress Arianne Zucker Sues Show’s Producer For Sexual Harassment

Zucker’s lawsuit claims that producer Albert Alarr enjoyed filming aggressive sex scenes and threesome sequences.

Nexstar Fined $720,000 By FCC For Retrans Violations

Nexstar Media Group has been fined $720,000 — double the normal amount — for violating FCC rules while negotiating a new carriage deal last year with a cable company in Hawaii. The FCC’s Media Bureau, in an order issued today, said Nexstar violated agency rules by demanding that Honolulu-based Hawaiian Telcom agree not to file an FCC complaint against the broadcaster as a condition of reaching a new carriage deal. Hawaiian Telcom filed a complaint anyway.

Disney Settles Lawsuit Over Rescinded Executive Job Offer

Ergen To Rosenworcel: Fix ‘Broken’ Retrans Consent Regime

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen late last week made the rounds at the FCC. In a Feb. 2 meeting with FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, Ergen criticized one of her key pay TV initiatives: Making cable and satellite TV operators provide consumers rebates as compensation for lost programming during contract disputes.

Byron Allen Loses $100M Fraud Lawsuit Against McDonald’s Over Ad Spend On Black-Owned Media

The lawsuit accused the fast food giant of failing to live up to a pledge to increase spending with Black-owned media from 2% to 5% by the end of this year.

Actor Gina Carano Sues Lucasfilm And Disney Over Her Firing From ‘The Mandalorian’

The lawsuit Carano filed with help from X, formerly Twitter, in federal court in California alleges her wrongful termination from the Star Wars galaxy Disney+ streaming series after two seasons over a post likening the treatment of American conservatives to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.

NAB Skewers Cable, Satellite TV Providers Over Subscriber Exit Fees

The National Association of Broadcasters sees a link between exit fees required of pay-TV customers and carriage disputes that pit TV stations against cable and satellite TV operators. NAB, in comments filed Monday with the FCC, asserted that cable and satellite TV providers rely on the fees to benefit from losing TV stations as a result of failed contract or retransmission consent negotiations.

Small Kentucky City Planning To Sell Cable TV-Internet Division

DirecTV Concerned About FCC’s All-In Pricing Plan

No. 1 satellite TV provider DirecTV is raising compliance concerns with new billing protocols proposed last year by FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel. She wants cable and satellite TV providers to adhere to an “all-in” billing format, which means one price for video programming to be displayed as a prominent single line item on bills and in promotional materials. DirecTV spent time with FCC officials recently to underscore the company’s difficulties in meeting the FCC’s requirements while complying with similar but not identical rules across multiple jurisdictions.

Showtime Sued By Family Of Tammy Wynette’s Fifth Husband For ‘Villainous’ Portrayal

Showtime retorts that there is “no plausible basis” for the claim, which focuses on the participation of Georgette Jones, the titular couple’s daughter, and her part in a previous non-disparagement agreement.

 

Padden: FCC Can Consider Character Issues Away From Broadcasting In Fox License Renewal

The man trying to derail a Fox Corp. TV station license renewal claims that alleged false reporting by corporate sibling Fox News Channel about the 2020 presidential election can be taken into account by federal regulators. Former Fox executive Preston Padden, in a filing Wednesday with the FCC, said the agency in considering the character of a TV station licensee seeking renewal is allowed to evaluate the licensee’s conduct elsewhere.

Disney’s First Amendment Lawsuit Against Ron DeSantis Dismissed By Judge

“This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law, and it will not end here,” a studio spokesperson says.

Meta, TikTok And Other Social Media CEOs Testify In Heated Senate Hearing On Child Exploitation

In a heated question and answer session with Mark Zuckerberg, Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley asked the Meta CEO if he has personally compensated any of the victims and their families for what they have been through. “I don’t think so,” Zuckerberg replied. “There’s families of victims here,” Hawley said. “Would you like to apologize to them?” As parents rose and held up their children’s pictures, Zuckerberg turned to face them and apologized for what they have been through.

Meta, TikTok And Other Tech CEOs Face Senate Grilling Over Online Child Exploitation

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, X CEO Linda Yaccarino and other tech industry leaders faced a grilling from lawmakers today as they appeared for a landmark Senate hearing on the online exploitation of children. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) blamed the tech platforms at the outset for allowing the exploitation to proliferate, while dismissing the latest efforts the companies have taken to boost safety. “They are responsible for many of the dangers our children face online,” Durbin said, calling it a “crisis in America.”

HCA Launches Defamation Suit Against Critics Choice Association

The Hollywood Creative Alliance (formerly known as Hollywood Critics Association) is suing the Critics Choice Association for defamation in response to the org’s recent call for members to resign from the HCA in order to stay members of the CCA. According to court documents, the HCA claims the CCA has defamed the organization in an “attempt to boycott and steal members of the HCA” and is seeking “preliminary and permanent injunctive relief” along with “appropriate compensatory remedies and fees and costs” in response to the organization’s actions.

Fox To FCC: Disregard Latest Philadelphia TV License Flare-Up

Fox Corp. is calling for the prompt renewal of its WTXF Philadelphia, saying recent attempts to influence the FCC’s review are legally defective in falling outside the agency’s policies and traditions in deciding the merits of a renewal. Fox’s lawyers pushed for FCC action in a letter today supportive of renewal of the license of WTXF. Fox claimed that the opposition’s reliance on court proceedings involving Fox News Channel had no legal bearing on the FCC’s renewal of a broadcast licensee.

XGen Network Files For Two New 5G Broadcasting Experimental Licenses

XGen Network, in partnership with HC2 and EGOT Media, has filed for two new experimental 5G broadcast licenses with the FCC. This move is in collaboration with HC2’s WTXX-LD Springfield, […]

Sinclair Exec, Sun Owner David Smith Behind Lawsuit Against Baltimore Schools

New Baltimore Sun owner and Sinclair Broadcast Group Executive Chairman David Smith has been quietly involved in a lawsuit accusing Baltimore City Public Schools of defrauding taxpayers, documents show. Smith has had several discussions with the plaintiffs and their attorneys about the suit and is behind a corporation paying the plaintiff’s legal fees, according to documents obtained by The Baltimore Banner. All the while, Baltimore’s WBFF, Sinclair’s flagship station, has covered the case extensively without disclosing Smith’s role. A WBFF spokesperson said that WBFF reporters and staff did not know of Smith’s involvement in the lawsuit, and that the station will add disclosure to its stories. (Doug Wells/AP)

Judge Orders Oregon Newspaper Not To Publish Documents Linked To Nike Lawsuit

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that an attorney who represents plaintiffs in the case sent the documents to one of its reporters on Jan. 19 and then asked for them back. When the news outlet declined, the attorney filed a court motion requesting they be returned. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie Russo approved the motion on Friday and ordered the news outlet to return the documents.

FCC Moves To Simplify Sending Multilingual Emergency Alerts

The commission plans a February vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make it easier to send multilingual alerts over TV and radio.

COMMENTARY BY KARL BODE

Cable Giants Insist That Forcing Them To Make Cancellations Easier Violates Their First Amendment Rights

Neither the FCC nor FTC has a particularly good track record of standing up to broadband and cable giants when it comes to their longstanding track record of anticompetitive behavior, price gouging or nickel-and-diming their often captive customers with bogus, hidden fees. Though occasionally one of the two agencies does step in to try make a bare minimum effort to rein in the industry’s worst impulses, such as the FTC’s attempt, unveiled last March, to force companies to stop making canceling service a pain in the ass. But the cable and broadband industry, which has a long and proud tradition of whining about every last consumer protection requirement (no matter how basic), is kicking back at that requirement.

Charter Seeking FCC Approval To Buy Astrea

The Attorney Challenging Social Media Firms

Matthew P Bergman’s firm has filed cases against Snap, TikTok and others, with a novel argument – that the products are harmful by design.