Archive: April 2015

1
Last Week to File for Retroactive Waiver of FCC Rule Requiring Opt-Out Notice on All Fax Advertisements
2
FCC Adopts Innovative Spectrum Sharing Scheme, Making 150 MHz of Spectrum Available for Wireless Broadband  
3
Open Internet Order Published — Triggers Appeal Deadline, June 12, 2015 Effective Date
4
Client of Blast Fax Solutions Provider Hit with $22 Million TCPA Judgment

Last Week to File for Retroactive Waiver of FCC Rule Requiring Opt-Out Notice on All Fax Advertisements

By Joseph C. Wylie II, Molly K. McGinley, Nicole C. Mueller

Companies that communicate by fax have until April 30, 2015 to request a retroactive waiver from a Federal Communications Commission rule requiring that opt-out notice be included on all fax ads, including those sent to consumers who have provided prior express invitation or permission.

In 2006, the FCC adopted a new rule which requires opt-out notices in facsimile advertisements sent with the recipients’ prior express permission.  The FCC was then faced with an application for review of a Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau order and 24 petitions which collectively challenged the opt-in requirement adopted in 2006.  The petitioners argued that the TCPA applies only to unsolicited advertisements and therefore could not provide a statutory basis for the rule.  The petitioners also argued that the FCC provided conflicting statements with regard to the applicability of the rule to solicited facsimile advertisements.

As we previously discussed, on October 30, 2014, the FCC released an Order confirming that opt-out notices complying with rules and regulations adopted by the FCC are required on all advertisements transmitted by facsimile, including advertisements transmitted with the prior express permission of the recipient.  The FCC, recognizing the uncertainty over whether the opt-out requirements applied to senders with express permission of the recipients, granted retroactive waivers to the parties that had made the requests with respect to faxes sent with consent but without opt-out notices, and allowed those parties until April 30, 2015 to come into compliance with opt-out requirements.  The FCC invited “similarly situated parties” to seek waivers prior to April 30, 2015, but noted that it expected parties making similar waiver requests to “make every effort to file within six months of the release of this Order.”

At least 64 petitions for waivers have been filed, and while the FCC has invited comment on many of these petitions, it has not issued any rulings.

FCC Adopts Innovative Spectrum Sharing Scheme, Making 150 MHz of Spectrum Available for Wireless Broadband  

By Stephen J. Matzura and Marty Stern

Earlier this week, the FCC released a Report and Order (R&O), adopting new innovative sharing rules for a 150 MHz swath of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, including 100 MHz of federal government spectrum.  Under the regime adopted by the FCC, dubbed the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), much of the spectrum will be available for the provision of broadband services on an unlicensed “General Authorized Access” basis, though some of the spectrum will be set aside for short-term Priority Access Licenses (PALs) awarded via auction for individual census tracts.

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Open Internet Order Published — Triggers Appeal Deadline, June 12, 2015 Effective Date

By Marty Stern and Stephen J. Matzura

The FCC’s Open Internet order was published today in the Federal Register, kicking off the 60-day deadline to appeal the rules to a federal circuit court of appeals (or seek reconsideration before the FCC).   As we previously discussed, some parties have already filed appeals in various circuits, which have been consolidated in the D.C. Circuit.

Significantly, with publication in the Federal Register, key aspects of the rules go into effect in 60 days, on June 12, 2015, including reclassification of broadband Internet access as a Title II service, as well as the no blocking, no throttling, paid prioritization, and enforcement/complaint provisions of the Open Internet order.

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Client of Blast Fax Solutions Provider Hit with $22 Million TCPA Judgment

By Joseph C. Wylie II, Molly K. McGinley, and Nicole C. Mueller

A new decision once again highlights the dangers that companies face if their independent contractors engage in conduct that violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and highlights the need to monitor contractor compliance with the TCPA.  In City Select Auto Sales, Inc. v. David/Randall Assocs., Inc., a federal court in New Jersey recently found a roofing company, David/Randall Associates, liable for $22.4 million under the TCPA for the actions of its blast fax solutions provider, Business to Business Solutions (B2B).  The plaintiff had alleged that the roofer and its president were liable for the transmission of fax advertisements 44,832 times to 29,113 different fax numbers by its independent contractor, B2B, without obtaining the prior express invitation or permission of the recipients and without including an FCC-required opt-out notice.

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