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.

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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.

Trump Vetoes Defense Bill, Faults Congress For Not Repealing Section 230

Donald Trump followed through on a threat to veto a major $740 billion defense bill, in part because it does not repeal a key law that shields social media platforms from liability for the way that they moderate third-party content. Trump’s rejection of the law had been anticipated, as Congress is planning to return next week to take a possible vote to override the veto.

FCC Approves Univision Sale to SearchLight

The FCC’s Media Bureau has approved the Univision Holdings sale of majority ownership interest in the Spanish-language media company and its broadcast properties (65 TV stations and 58 radio stations) to investment firms Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight. The bureau’s approval is conditioned on the sale of three Puerto Rico TV stations — WLII and two satellites, WSUR and WOLE — to comply with FCC local ownership rules.

Newsmax, OAN Sued Over False Vote Claims

Eric Coomer, security director at the Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems, said he wants his life back after being named in false charges as a key actor in “rigging” the election for President-elect Joe Biden. There has been no evidence that the election was rigged. His lawsuit, filed Tuesday in district court in Denver County, Colorado, names the Trump campaign, lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, the website Gateway Pundit, Colorado conservative activist Joseph Oltmann, and conservative media outlets Newsmax and One America News Network.

Judge Throws Out Children’s Privacy Claims Against YouTube, Channel Operators

A federal judge has dismissed claims that YouTube, Hasbro, the Cartoon Network and other companies violated children’s privacy by allegedly tracking them in order to serve them with targeted ads. In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, Calif., said the children’s representatives couldn’t proceed with the case because the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act doesn’t allow for private lawsuits.

Florida Rep. Writes Pai Over Gray-Frontier Retrans Blackout

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) has written FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to stick up for Gray Television’s WWSB Sarasota, Fla., in a retrans fight with Frontier Cable. Citing a failure to reach a retrans agreement with Frontier, WWSB used some in-house news reporting last week to relay that it had been pulled from the cable system Friday (Dec. 18) after WWSB offered to keep the signal on at current terms while they continued to negotiate.

Google, Facebook Agreed To Team Up Against Possible Antitrust Action, Draft Lawsuit Says

Facebook and Google agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week.

VOA Leader Continues To Shake Up Agency

The Trump appointee who oversees Voice of America and other federal broadcasting operations continued an ongoing purge of top leadership by naming two conservative allies to run two of the most prominent networks. The new hirings by Michael Pack, the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, may turn out to be short-lived and largely symbolic. President-elect Joe Biden’s aides have indicated Biden intends to fire Pack when he assumes office on Jan. 20, although it’s not clear how much authority Biden would have to undo Pack’s personnel decisions.

Funding Bills Pass Congress

The House and Senate both voted late Monday on a paired-up package of a COVID-19 relief bill and an omnibus government spending bill loaded with billions of dollars for broadband, new small business loan aid for broadcasters and a provision making the theft of video streams a felony for the first time.