Journalists’ And Writers’ Unions Call On Congress To Consider Threats To Their Work In AI Legislation

Big Four Affiliates Oppose FCC On Retrans Blackout Reports

The Big Four affiliates want federal regulators to drop plans of keeping a record of signal blackouts that result from contract disputes between TV stations and cable and satellite TV providers. Lawyers for some 600 stations affiliated with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox networks delivered that message to the FCC this week along with a fresh request that online linear video providers like YouTube TV should be classified as the legal equivalent of cable and satellite TV operators and brought within the carriage distribution system known as retransmission consent.

Missouri AG Sues Media Matters Over Its X Research, Demands Donor Names

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has sued Media Matters in an attempt to protect Elon Musk and X from the nonprofit watchdog group’s investigations into hate speech on the social network. Bailey’s lawsuit claims that “Media Matters has used fraud to solicit donations from Missourians in order to trick advertisers into removing their advertisements from X, formerly Twitter, one of the last platforms dedicated to free speech in America.”

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Walmart Taking Second Try At Antitrust Filings On Vizio Acquisition

Walmart plans to redo and refile documents pertaining to antitrust issues regarding its proposed acquisition of Vizio. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Vizio, “following informal discussions with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, Walmart notified the antitrust agencies that Walmart will voluntarily withdraw and refile the Hart-Scott-Rodino notification report form for the merger in order to give the antitrust agencies additional time to review the proposed transaction.”

Sinclair Elevates David Gibber To EVP-Chief Legal Officer

He will continue to oversee the legal, regulatory, distribution and network affiliate functions for the entire company, as well as serve as part of the executive leadership.

Settlement Reached In Lawsuit Between Disney And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Allies

In a meeting Wednesday, the DeSantis-appointed members of the board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District approved the settlement agreement, ending almost two years of litigation that was sparked by DeSantis’ takeover of the district from Disney supporters following the company’s opposition to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.

NAB Wants FCC To Collect Data On Successful Retrans Deals

Collecting data when retransmission consent disputes lead to signal blackouts on cable and satellite TV systems is only a half measure, according to the National Association of Broadcasters. The lead trade group for TV station owners told the FCC that it preferred a data collection system that not only included blackouts but also the number of times carriage deals were reached without controversy.

TikTok’s Troubles Just Got Worse: The FTC Could Sue Them, Too

A privacy case against TikTok would add fuel to the bipartisan chorus of criticism directed at the company over its ties to China.

Palestinian American Sues CBS’s WWJ Detroit After Firing

Ibrahim Samra says he was fired from WWJ-TV has filed suit against the station, alleging he was discriminated and retaliated against after complaining about what he saw as its anti-Arab bias.

Judge Sides With Google And Apple In Battle Over Search Partnership

A search advertiser can’t proceed in court with claims that Google conspired with Apple to avoid competing in the search business, a federal judge has ruled. In a dismissal order, U.S. District Court Judge Pitts in the Northern District of California completely threw out the advertiser’s claims against Apple, and sent the claims against Google to arbitration because its contract with advertisers requires arbitration of disputes.

Levin: ‘Intensified Battle’ Ahead Over TV Station Ownership

TV station owners, beset by threats to ad revenue and pay-TV distribution fees, will soon “take more aggressive action” in Washington in an effort to relax station ownership caps locally and nationally, according to one Wall Street analyst. New Street Research’s Blair Levin, a former FCC chief of staff, said recent regulatory and enforcement actions taken by the FCC will likely prompt TV station owners to take on rules that stand in the away of consolidation.

FCC Issues First EEO Audit Notice For 2024

The FCC has released its first EEO audit notice for 2024. Those stations, and the station employment units (commonly owned or controlled stations serving the same area sharing at least one employee) with which they are associated, must provide to the FCC their last two years of EEO Annual Public File reports, as well as backing data to show that the station in fact did everything that was required under the FCC rules.

Florida Restricts Teens’ Use Of Social Media

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a law that prohibits social media platforms from allowing anyone under 14 to create or maintain accounts, and also requires tech platforms to obtain parental consent before allowing 14- or 15-year olds to create or maintain accounts.

Nexstar: Hawaiian Telcom Trying To Change Retrans Rules

Requiring TV stations to reach carriage deals with cable operators to avoid signal blackouts is barred by long-standing federal law and regulations, according to Nexstar Media Group in a filing today with the FCC. Nexstar is trying to fend off a Hawaiian Telcom complaint over a carriage dispute last July that led to a three-week signal blackout. Hawaiian Telcom insisted in an FCC complaint that Nexstar violated agency retransmission consent rules by going dark instead of extending their negotiations a few extra days.

Apple, Google, Meta Probed By EU In Test Of New Digital Law

Apple, Alphabet’s Google and Meta Platforms face the risk of potentially hefty fines as the European Union opened a full-blown investigation into the firms’ compliance with strict new laws reining in the power of Big Tech. The European Commission said Monday that Apple and Google’s app store rules will be targeted in the first probes under the bloc’s Digital Markets Act, how Google search results might unfairly preference its own services and how Apple may make it harder for users to choose alternatives to its Safari browser.

TikTok Bill Faces Uncertain Fate In The Senate

Some see the TikTok bill as the best chance for now to regulate the tech industry and set a precedent, if a narrow one focused on just one company. President Joe Biden has said he would sign the House bill, which overwhelmingly passed 362-65 this month after a rare 50-0 committee vote moving it to the floor. But it’s already running into roadblocks in the Senate, where there is little unanimity on the best approach to ensure that China doesn’t access private data from the app’s 170 million U.S. users or influence them through its algorithms. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

OPEN MIKE

It’s Time For A Reset On NextGen TV

AWARN’s John Lawson: The ATSC 3.0 transition is stalled. A new public-private partnership could jump start it.

AI & THE MEDIA

Tennessee Just Became The First State To Protect Musicians And Other Artists Against AI

The move makes Tennessee, long known as the birthplace of country music and the launchpad for musical legends, the first state in the U.S. to enact such measures. Supporters say the goal is to ensure that AI tools cannot replicate an artist’s voice without their consent. The bill goes into effect July 1.

COMMENTARY

Just Because The FCC Can Regulate Broadcasting, Should It?

David Oxenford: To conclude that it is deregulation, not marketplace forces, that is decreasing localism is to ignore the media marketplace generally.

Georgia Senate Committee Basically Guts Cap On Production Tax Credits

FCC Orders Nexstar To Sell WPIX New York Or Other Stations, Levies $1.2 Million Fine Over Mission Broadcasting Pact

The FCC has hit Nexstar Media Group and its business partner Mission Broadcasting with a $1.2 million fine and an order to sell WPIX New York or other stations to come into compliance with longstanding station ownership limits. The commission on Thursday issued a 42-page decision in its probe of Nexstar’s ties to Mission Broadcasting and whether their business agreement violated the FCC’s reach limit on TV station ownership.

Gabriela Sibori Joins NAB As Senior Director Of Communications

She will serve as a spokesperson for the association and will help develop and execute messaging strategies to advance broadcasters’ policy agenda before Congress and the FCC.

‘Abbott Elementary’ And Quinta Brunson’s ‘Knock-Off’ Copyright Suit Dropped

Abbott Elementary and its creator and star, Quinta Brunson, are out of legal detention. A judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit against Brunson, 34, and ABC filed by writer Christine Davis in 2021, claiming the hit sitcom was a “veritable knock-off” of her show This School Year. According to the court decision, the judge found that “no discerning observer would find the works to be substantially similar.”

What’s In The FY 2025 Budget For Broadband And Technology

The U.S. fiscal year 2025 budget has funds for broadband expansion, tech innovation and digital equity.

 

DirecTV Loses Price-Fixing Case Against Nexstar, Mission And White Knight

A federal judge in New York on Wednesday tossed out DirecTV’s price-fixing case against three TV station owners – including Nexstar Media Group – on the basis that the satellite TV provider lacked antitrust standing to wage the court battle. DirecTV “has failed to show that it suffered ‘a special kind of antitrust injury,’ and therefore lacks antitrust standing to bring this suit,” U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel said in a 17-page opinion.

Algeria Scolds Television Stations For Ramadan Ad Blitz And Immoral Programming

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Officials in Algeria are chiding television stations over the content choices they’ve made since the start of Ramadan last week, injecting religion into broader discussions about […]

Can Cable Do ‘No Locals’ Like DirecTV?

DirecTV, on a Sunday of all things, decided to announce its “No Locals” plan that allows satellite subscribers to drop local TV stations and save $12 monthly or $140 annually. Dish and DirecTV have must-carry and retransmission consent obligations like cable. But satellite TV providers are not required to make their subscribers buy local TV stations before buying the tier with all the cable channels. Could cable adopt Dish’s Flex Pack or DirecTV’s No Locals approach? Since it involves regulation, it’s complicated.

Trump Sues ABC And Stephanopoulos, Saying They Defamed Him

Former President Donald Trump filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News on Monday, arguing that the anchor George Stephanopoulos had harmed his reputation by saying multiple times on-air that the former president had been found liable for raping the writer E. Jean Carroll.

Meta Files Emergency Petition To Derail FTC Hearing On Teens’ Data

Meta Platforms on Monday asked a federal appeals court for an emergency injunction halting an FTC in-house hearing that could result in a ban on monetizing teens’ data. The social media platform contends that FTC in-house hearings are unconstitutional — in part, because the FTC acts as both prosecutor and judge at in-house hearings.

Supreme Court Signals Wariness On Limiting Feds’ Interactions With Social Media Companies

The Supreme Court seemed wary Monday of imposing harsh limits on how federal officials communicate with social media platforms about content moderation decisions. Sharply questioning both sides, the justices sought to determine when it is appropriate for the government to encourage the platforms to remove controversial content — if ever.