Rules & Regulations

by Lous Baldanza III, Samantha Ficken, Joey Reynoso

The Role of the FCC is a misunderstood one and at times can be predicated on dubious misnomers pertaining to their power over broadcast, cable, radio and the internet.  Their most important attribute: license granting.  Looking over everything they embody all leads to this one defining element.  Whether the FCC is fining Fox, or placing a cease and desist order on the Howard Stern Show, it ultimately leads to a case involving their license.  Out of this government entity, comes other legal bodies that regulate everything from children’s shows, Child Act of 1990, to downloading music from the internet, DMCA.

Not all states currently abide by the Federal filtering laws in federal libraries.  Currently, only 25 states adhere to this mandate.  The issue remains fervently debated due to the failures of previous mandates set forth by congress in order to curb indecent or obscene content on the internet.  Some still feel the ‘filters’ are unconstitutional and are slow to change there current policies.  Here is a link to read more about this law and how it affects children and information that is available.

The following link is relevant to my presentation on ‘watchdog’ groups who monitor broadcast TV and want cable TV more closely regulated.  The PTC, or Parents Television Council, discuss how the freedom of speech is not the freedom to be indecent.  What they fail to realize is as long as our laws remain the same and indecency remains a somewhat vague concept in relation to the freedom of speech, the existence of PTC could end up an exercise in futility.

One of the functions of the FCC is to regulate unscrupulous monopolies. The FCC feels that a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile would skew the competitive market. If the two companies came together they would be the largest cell phone providers which would make them even more powerful. The FCC’s report says that a merger would “cause significant harms to competition and consumers, including increased cost for customers, reduced incentives for innovation and decreased consumer choices.” It is definitely important for the FCC to regulate these things because if companies merge and there are less choices for consumers, these companies can charge however much they want.

The accessibility of the internet is something that seems ubiquitous today, but there are still many underrepresented groups that can not afford to conveniently have the internet at home.  A luxury that many college students enjoy, the FCC recently announced plans to work with major cable companies in order to provide internet service to these special groups of Americans who couldn’t afford to pay for internet access in the past.  The hope that bringing the internet to the working poor can lead to a change in how information is processed has a wonderful assortment of possibilities for the future.

Fair use is probably one of the most important weapons in the arsenal of educators.  Much like our presentation, we were allowed to show various videos and musical elements due to being in the realm of education.  This of course entails us and the university not profiting from it either.  I have attached the offiical United States government definition of ‘fair use.’  I feel it is important to know the ‘according to hoyle’ version of this law.

It is rather comical that a ‘service’ is protected but the content isn’t.  Why create a law that doesn’t completely embody the essence of what it is trying to protect?  There, in my opinion, needs to be a revision to the DMCA law and what it entails, as it appears to need to add several other tenets that would help eliminate confusion, or what appears to be pseudo-loopholes.  I do not empathize with any individual who utilizes a ‘loophole’ to illegally distribute and sell music but I do feel the absence of this integral competent should be reason enough or an individual to be found not guilty until the law is revised.


 Ramsey, W. (2006). “ Rethinking Regulation of Advertising Aimed at Children.”< span> Federal   Communications Law Journal. 58: 2: pg361-94.

 Anonymous. (2009). “from the bench: U.S. Supreme Court.” Newsletter on Intellectual  Freedom. 58: 1: pg 13-15. 

 Labaton, S. (2007). “Record Fine Expected for Univision.” The New York Times. 

 Timmer, J. (2005). “The Seven Dirty Words You Can Say on Cable and DBS: Extending  Broadcast Indecency Regulation and the First Amendment.” Communication Law and  Policy. 10: 2: pg 179.

 Tuman, J. (2003). “Miller v. California.” Free Speech on Trial: Communication Perspectives  on Landmark Supreme Court Decisions. Pp 187-202. 

 Vicini, J. (2011). “Supreme Court rejects Internet music download case.”< span> Reuters.

 Stohr, G. (2011). “ Songwriters Rejected by U.S. High Court in Yahoo Royalty Fight.”& amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; span>  Businessweek. 

 Anonymous. (2011). “SESAC: ABOUT SESAC.”< span>  

 Anonymous. (2011). “ Application for an FM Broadcast Station License.”< span> Federal  Communications Commission. 

 Anonymous. (2010). “ Regulatory Fees Fact Sheet.” Federal Communications Commission 

Below is the PowerPoint Presentation for chapter 10: Rules and Regulations

chapter 10-1.pptx