Category: Industry Sectors

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
European Court of Human Rights Rules Company Liable for Offensive User-Generated Comments
6
FCC Adopts Innovative Spectrum Sharing Scheme, Making 150 MHz of Spectrum Available for Wireless Broadband  
7
Open Internet Order Published — Triggers Appeal Deadline, June 12, 2015 Effective Date
8
FCC Net Neutrality and Muni Broadband Orders Examined in Upcoming Webcast
9
E-LABEL Act Exempts Wireless Devices from Physical Label Requirements
10
Marriott agrees to $600,000 penalty for blocking personal hotspots

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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European Court of Human Rights Rules Company Liable for Offensive User-Generated Comments

By Ignasi Guardans

On Monday, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that an Estonian commercially-run Internet news portal was liable for the offensive online comments of its readers. This was the first case in which the court had been called upon to examine a complaint about liability for user-generated comments on an Internet news portal.

In its grand chamber judgment in the case of Delfi AS v. Estonia (application no. 64569/09), the ECHR held, by 15 votes to two, that there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ECHR has a final say, above any other national jurisdiction, on matters related to the European Convention on Human Rights and its judgments have a huge influence in courts all across the Continent. Read More

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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FCC Net Neutrality and Muni Broadband Orders Examined in Upcoming Webcast

The FCC’s recent net neutrality order, classifying broadband Internet access as a Title II common carrier offering, along with the FCC’s decision to preempt North Carolina and Tennessee state laws that placed limits on municipal broadband networks will be examined in a special live webcast on Broadband US TV on Friday, March 13th from 1pm-2:30pm (Eastern).

The webcast, entitled “FCC Takes Charge – Net Neutrality and Muni Broadband: New Title II Rules for Broadband Access and Preempting State Limits on Municipal Networks” will present details about the rulings, predictions on implementation and court challenges, and what these rulings are likely to portend for broadband in America over the next year and beyond.

Co-hosts Marty Stern of K&L Gates and Jim Baller of the Baller Herbst Law Group will be joined by two panels of prominent players and experts on both sides of these white hot issues.

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Marriott agrees to $600,000 penalty for blocking personal hotspots

Marriott International, Inc. recently entered into a Consent Decree with the Federal Communications Commission to end an investigation into whether the company intentionally disabled consumers’ personal Wi-Fi hotspot connections at its Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. As part of the Consent Decree, Marriott will pay a $600,000 civil penalty and must file compliance reports with the FCC every three months for three years. Read More

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