Archive: August 2015

1
EC Considers Extension of Cable/Satellite Copyright Rules to Online Distribution
2
Company Agrees to $750,000 Penalty to Resolve FCC Inquiry into Wi-Fi Network Management Practices at Convention Center Venues
3
FCC Denies $3.3 Billion in Bidding Credits to AWS-3 Auction Winners, Requires Full Payment in 30 Days
4
FCC Adopts Broadcast Incentive Auction Items, Clarifies Rules for Unlicensed and Microphone Operations in TV Bands
5
NTIA Hosts First Meeting On UAS Privacy; Section 333 Exemption Grants Continue To Rise

EC Considers Extension of Cable/Satellite Copyright Rules to Online Distribution

By Ignasi Guardans and Dr. Martin von Albrecht 

The European Commission has just launched a public consultation on a 1993 Directive on copyright rules  applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission, which essentially seeks views on a possible extension of the Directive to Internet distribution.

The EC is asking whether EU rules, which define where and how satellite broadcasters and cable companies should clear copyrights, are up-to-date.  It is also seeking views on the impact of extending these rules to cover broadcaster services (including TV and radio) provided over the Internet. This consultation is one of the 16 initiatives announced in the Commission’s plan for the Digital Single Market.  According to the release, the EC is trying to enhance cross border access to broadcasting and related online services across the EU.

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Company Agrees to $750,000 Penalty to Resolve FCC Inquiry into Wi-Fi Network Management Practices at Convention Center Venues

By Stephen J. Matzura and Marty Stern

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau entered into a consent decree with a company (Smart City Holdings, LLC and two of its subsidiaries) to end an investigation into whether the company’s use of enabling technologies for managing and protecting Wi-Fi networks unlawfully blocked personal Wi-Fi access at several convention center venues in Ohio, Indiana, Florida, and Arizona, where the company  provides managed network services.

According to the Bureau, the investigation focused on whether the company’s use of certain network management equipment which automatically deauthenticated personal mobile “hotspots,” used to access the Internet via users’ wireless data plans, complies with Section 333 of the Communications Act, which prohibits willful or malicious interference with the radio communications of any licensed or authorized station.

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FCC Denies $3.3 Billion in Bidding Credits to AWS-3 Auction Winners, Requires Full Payment in 30 Days

By Stephen J. Matzura and Marty Stern

The FCC unanimously adopted an order released earlier this week denying approximately $3.3 billion in small business bidding credits to SNR Wireless LicenseCo, LLC and Northstar Wireless, LLC, two entities financed by DISH Network Corporation that had won licenses in the AWS-3 auction which concluded in January (Auction 97).  The auction, which had net winning bids of over $41 billion, significantly exceeded expectations and has been termed a “whopping success” from a revenue standpoint. In a statement issued prior to the order’s release, Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler stated that the entities “are not eligible for bidding credits” based on the Commission’s “fact-based analysis,” which “ensures that bidding credits only go to the small businesses our rules aim to serve.”  The Commission’s order, released the following day, details the Commission’s analysis of whether DISH revenues should be attributed to SNR and Northstar based on its degree of control over the entities.

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FCC Adopts Broadcast Incentive Auction Items, Clarifies Rules for Unlicensed and Microphone Operations in TV Bands

By Stephen J. Matzura and Marty Stern

The FCC, at its open meeting last week, adopted a number of key items on the broadcast incentive auction, which it hopes to kick off by March 2016.  If successful, the incentive auction will allow participating broadcasters to receive payment for relinquishing their spectrum and will make spectrum available in the 600 MHz band for auction to wireless providers.

Among a raft of complexities, the process will require that remaining broadcasters be “repacked” in the band from their existing channels.  At the same time, it will provide for unlicensed use (think Wi-Fi and TV “white space” devices) of guard bands between wireless and broadcast frequencies, and what is known as the “duplex gap” — vacant space between the uplink and downlink operations of the new wireless providers in the band.  In one contentious move, the Commission agreed to provide flexibility in the repacking process by authorizing as necessary the relocation of broadcasters to the duplex gap in particular markets, which would render that spectrum unusable for unlicensed operations in those markets.  In a compromise brokered by Commissioner Rosenworcel, the Commission agreed to seek comment on whether it should preserve a vacant channel in such markets for unlicensed and licensed microphone use.

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NTIA Hosts First Meeting On UAS Privacy; Section 333 Exemption Grants Continue To Rise

By Tom DeCesar, Ed Fishman, Jim Insco and Marty Stern

On August 3th, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration held the first in a series of “multi-stakeholder meetings” among participants in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, a.k.a. drones) industry to help create possible industry guidelines on privacy, transparency, and accountability issues.  As we discussed here, the meetings are being held pursuant to President Obama’s February 15, 2015 Presidential Memorandum.  The purpose of the first meeting was to discuss high-priority issues to be addressed during the process, and logistics regarding the best way to address the issues – including through the establishment of working groups and concrete goals.  Future meetings have been scheduled for September 24th, October 21st, and November 20th.

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