The FCC has made significant changes to the prior express consent requirements under The Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Effective October 16, 2013, senders must obtain prior express written consent to send any text messages or to place any pre-recorded or automated calls to a residential or mobile device. Companies will also have to obtain written consent for those subscribers who opted-in to call or text campaigns before the effective date of the new regulations (essentially, those people will have to “re-sign up” but this time in writing). Notably, the prior express written consent requirement can be satisfied by any number of digital means including a web form, a text message or even a key press on a mobile device. We have prepared an article that discusses the change in the law, what it means for companies and tips and best practices going-forward. Click here to read the article, and please feel free to reach out with any questions.
The FCC – pursuant to a 2012 Congressional mandate – will be prepared to auction the recently-cleared H-block spectrum as early as January 14, 2014. The spectrum will be auctioned as 5 MHz pairs, with each license having a total of 10 MHz of bandwidth; 1915-1920 MHz for mobile and low power fixed (uplink) operations and 1995-2000 MHz for base station and fixed (downlink) operations. As a result of the significant expenses incurred by UTAM, Inc. and Sprint Nextel, Inc. in clearing incumbents from this band, all future H-block licensees will be subject to cost-sharing allocations apportioned on a pro rata basis against the relocation costs attributable to that particular band. For a graphical illustration, see the H-block band plan below:
Unexpectedly, the government of Argentina has decided to enforce law 23,316, enacted on May 23, 1986, regarding certain requirements for dubbing motion pictures and television programming (the “Dubbing Act”), which was only in the books and never implemented… until today. President Kirchner issued decree 933/2013, which after 27 years explains and expands the Dubbing Act (the “Decree”). Both regulations are full of confusing and contradictory clauses which will cause more than a headache to the film & TV industry and will be an invitation for litigation.
On May 23, after the approval of 24 Mexican states (Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Morelos, Nayarit, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis, Potosí, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán and Zacatecas) the president of the Permanent Commission (Comisión Permanente) has declared constitutional the Telecommunications’ Reform and sent the bill to President Peña Nieto for his signature and publication in the Official Gazette.
WASHINGTON, DC – Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has added three partners to the firm’s Business Trial practice group and Communications team: Gardner Gillespie, Dave Thomas, and Paul Werner. Gillespie, Thomas and Werner join Sheppard Mullin’s Washington, D.C. office from Hogan Lovells’ Washington office. To read the full press release click here.
In August 2012, the Coalition for Broadcast Investment (“CBI”), a group comprising national broadcast networks, radio and television station licensees, and community and consumer organizations, filed a letter with the FCC requesting clarification of the foreign ownership rules contained in Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act. Specifically, CBI requested clarification that “the FCC will conduct a substantive, facts, and circumstances evaluation of proposals for foreign investment in excess of 25 percent in the parent company of a broadcast licensee.…” If adopted, this approach would represent a marked change of course for the FCC, which has in the past “categorically refused” to consider transactions involving investment in broadcasters above the 25% benchmark, according to CBI.
Following up on an important FCC Law Blog item, entities subject to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (“CVAA”) should be aware that the April 1, 2013 deadline to electronically file the first annual recordkeeping certification is less than a week away.
Recently, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding the providers and equipment manufacturers of advanced communications services (ACS) of their obligation to maintain records evidencing their efforts to comply with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). In addition, these entities are also required to submit an annual certification stating that such records are being kept in accordance with the statute. The CVAA is a 2010 law ensuring access to ACS for people with disabilities, and the FCC began issuing regulations implementing the legislation in 2011.
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently adopted new rules governing the Wireless Communications Service (“WCS”) in the 2.3 GHz band. The new rules largely follow those proposed by AT&T and Sirius XM earlier this year and are designed to both encourage the development of new broadband services and mitigate the potential for harmful interference to Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (“SDARS”) operations in the adjacent portion of the 2.3 GHz band.
New FCC regulations on closed captioning of IP-delivered video programming have caught many by surprise even though they have been in the works for the past two years. Many of those who will be directly impacted by the new rules may still be unaware of the rapidly approaching compliance deadline of September 30, 2012. Most pre-recorded video programming must be captioned for IP-delivery if it is shown on television with captions on or after September 30, 2012. The producer or supplier of the content bears the initial responsibility for inserting the captioning but the distributors also have the duty to confirm compliance. There are many variations and different applicable dates for different kinds of programming (e.g., live vs. pre-recorded but edited vs. archived). As in all aspects of the law, the application of the law and the associated regulations depends on the specific circumstances surrounding each video program in a library. However, since the dates for implementation vary widely depending on the content and whether it has been broadcast on television in the US, producers, suppliers and distributors must carefully consider each video program in relationship to the relevant regulations. Video programming distributers will also be subject to new consumer complaint procedures that require distributors to have prescribed procedures in place by September 30, 2012. And while the deadline for device manufacturers to comply with their new closed captioning requirements is not until 2014, the reality of equipment development cycles requires device manufacturers to pay close attention to the new requirements immediately.