FCC Adopts New International Sponsorship Identification Guidelines – Media, Telecoms, IT, Leisure

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At the end of April 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enact new regulations that require broadcast programs sponsored or provided by a foreign government to include a disclosure statement stating the foreign government funding and the foreign country concerned. While US law prohibits foreign governments from directly owning broadcast licenses, there are no restrictions on their ability to enter into agreements with licensees to broadcast programs. Similar to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FREE) The aim of the new FCC rules is to ensure that the public is informed when a foreign government tries to influence the US public. At the same time, the new regulations go beyond similar disclosure requirements in FARA and burden US broadcasters with considerable duties of care.

The new rules published on April 22nd, 2021 Report and order, comes into force 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

I. Disclosure Requirements for Foreign Governments and Their Agents

The FCC’s pre-disclosure requirements only required broadcasters to disclose the name (s) of the natural or legal person (s) who pay for or provide paid programming, including paid political programming. As discussed in detail below, the new regulations require disclosure when a foreign government agency directly or indirectly provides material for a broadcast, whether or not that material is paid for programming.

The FCC borrows key definitions from FARA and the Communications Act of 1934. When defining “foreign government agency,” the report and ordinance refer to FARA definitions of “foreign country government,” “foreign political party,” and “agent of a foreign “principal” if that agent is acting as the registered agent of the foreign government or foreign political party (defined in 22 USC §§ 611 (c) – (f)). The FCC also borrowed from FARA and determined that disclosure is required if the foreign principal is directly or indirectly operated, supervised, directed, owned, controlled, financed or subsidized by a foreign government.

The scope of the FCC disclosure rules is broader than that of FARA, and the report and regulation also extends the definition of foreign governmental entities beyond the boundaries of FARA to entities that would otherwise be exempt under FARA. In particular, it includes any entity or individual subject to Section 722 of the Communications Act and who has filed a report with the FCC. Section 722 applies to any US-based overseas media company that: (a) produces or distributes video programs broadcast or intended for broadcast to consumers in the United States by a multichannel video program distributor; and (b) an “agent of a foreign client ”, but for an exception in FARA.

II. Foreign programming requires disclosure if it is paid or political

The new rules apply to all agreements in which a broadcasting licensee makes a discrete block of airtime from his broadcaster available for programming to a foreign government agency in return for compensation. The rules also apply to political programs or programs in which controversial issues are discussed if the broadcast material was made available free of charge by a foreign government agency as an incentive to broadcast the program.

The FCC borrowed the definition of “political program” from the Communications Act, which defines it as any program “that seeks to convince or dissuade the American public about a particular political candidate or issue.” After deliberation, the FCC decided to keep this limited definition of policy programming rather than extending it to all programs of a foreign government agency. The FCC will determine on a case-by-case basis whether an issue is “controversial”.

The disclosure requirements of the new Report and Order focus on leasing contracts between a broadcaster and a third party and therefore do not apply to paid advertisements. However, paid advertisements are still subject to the existing sponsorship identification rules in 47 CFR
Section 73.1212 (f).

III. The broadcaster’s duty of care for new and existing agreements

As this is likely to be a significant burden for broadcasters, the responsibility for disclosure rests with the licensee. In particular, a broadcaster licensee must exercise “reasonable care” to determine whether a foreign sponsorship card is required.

Appropriate care is required of the licensee:

  1. Inform the tenant at the time of the conclusion of the contract and each time the disclosure obligation for foreign sponsorship is extended;
  2. At the time of contract signing and renewal, ask the tenant whether they fall into one of the categories that qualify them as a “Foreign Government Establishment”;
  3. At the time of the agreement and upon renewal, ask the renter if they know if anyone further up the production or distribution chain of the program is (a) qualified as a foreign government agency, and (b) has provided some type of incentive to broadcast the program Has;
  4. If the renter does not indicate that they fall into any of the covered categories, the broadcaster licensee must independently confirm the status of the renter at the time of contract signing and renewal by consulting the FARA website of the Department of Justice and the FCC’s semi-annual US -based foreign media reports and searches for the tenant’s name; and
  5. Document the inquiries and investigations listed above to track compliance.

Appropriate care is required not only with the initial agreement, but also with each renewal. In addition, because the status of a lessee may change during the course of an agreement, the report and order encourages licensees to include in all leases a provision requiring a lessee to discourage any change in status that would trigger the foreign sponsorship identification rules, Report to .

The new requirements for appropriate due diligence will place an additional burden on broadcasters, both on a prospective basis and on existing rental agreements. Current rental agreements must comply with the new regulations, including performing reasonable care within six months of the regulations coming into force.

IV. Disclosure Obligations

The report and order contains the standard language broadcasters must use when disclosure is required. For television programs, disclosure must be in letters of at least four percent of the vertical picture height and be visible for at least four seconds. In the case of broadcasts, the disclosure must be audible. Broadcasters must disclose at the beginning and at the end of a broadcast, unless the broadcast lasts less than five minutes, in which case disclosure at the beginning of the broadcast is sufficient. If a broadcast lasts longer than an hour, broadcasters must provide information at regular intervals and at least once an hour throughout the broadcast.

The required language broadcasters must use is:

The [following/preceding] Programming was [sponsored, paid
for, or furnished,] in whole or in part, by [name of foreign
governmental entity] in the name of [name of foreign

The new disclosure requirements appear to be more demanding than FARA, but if the licensee is also subject to FARA, FARA’s labeling requirements will meet the new requirements, provided the FARA label includes the name of the country of the foreign government agency and complies with the frequency requirements described above.

In addition to the broadcast disclosures, the report and order requires broadcasters subject to these disclosure requirements to make copies of the disclosures in their online public inspection file (OPIF). The disclosures must remain in a folder labeled “Foreign-Government Provided Programming Disclosures”. The information stored in the OPIF must contain the actual disclosure as well as the date and time the program was broadcast. If the program was broadcast more than once, the broadcasters must add each additional date and time to the OPIF. Broadcasters are required to update their OPIFs at least quarterly and there is a two year retention period for disclosures related to the report and the order.

The FCC’s new rules are likely the result of congressional pressure on the FCC to act in this area, and they reflect the increasing scrutiny of the US government’s efforts by foreign governments to influence the American public. Similarly, the Department of Justice has sought to more aggressively enforce FARA’s registration and disclosure requirements for foreign media outlets and US companies that broadcast or disseminate information in the United States on behalf of foreign governments. This is evidenced by the issuance of several letters of assessment by the DOJ-FARA entity in the past three years, which require FARA registration of certain foreign media companies, including CGTN America, RIA Global, RM broadcasting, and Xinhua News. In this way, the report and regulation add to the complexity of an already overcrowded regulatory field related to foreign influence and add detailed disclosure requirements that overlap but are not identical to analogous requirements in FARA. It is also crucial that broadcasters have a substantial and sustained duty of care.

Due to the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be implemented in certain situations without specific legal advice.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP. All rights reserved

How To Use Promotional Advertising The Authorized Manner – Media, Telecoms, IT, Leisure

United States:

Using advertising marketing in a legal way

April 20, 2021

Klein Moynihan Turco LLP

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Using promotional contests, gaming, and sweepstakes marketing can be a dynamic and inexpensive way to increase sales, build a database of interested consumers, and otherwise increase brand awareness and interest. Consumers are more likely to be drawn to your marketing message by the opportunity to win prizes than by more mundane advertising. However, there are specific state and federal laws that apply to such games and they can be costly legal liability if these laws are not strictly followed.

In order to navigate the legal maze associated with promotions, it is important to first identify the type of game itself. In general, there are two broad categories of promotional games: “Skill” games and “Chance” games.

Games of skill versus games of chance

Skill games tend to be easier to use because they have fewer legal obstacles. However, some skill games may violate anti-gambling laws, depending on the structure of the prizes awarded and the level and degree of involvement of the company running the game. Some states require that owners of games of skill first register with the appropriate government agencies.

GamblingOn the other hand, they are considered illegal lotteries in every state unless one of the following three elements that make up a lottery is removed: (1) a prize awarded to the winner; (2) Chance in determining the winner; and (3) consideration for entry into the game. Because removing the prize function undermines the promotional aspect of the game and randomness is difficult to completely eliminate (many states find that even a small trace of chance in determining the winner meets the element of “chance”), consideration is the element most most often removed.

How to Remove Considerations from a Promotion

Considerations can be eliminated by offering a free, alternative entry options this does not require purchase or other costly measures. However, to qualify as an exclusion of consideration, the free alternative entries must have the same chance of winning as entries from consumers who have made purchases or otherwise paid to enter the contest.

Keep track of promotional prices

The type and amount of prizes to be awarded as well as the process of awarding these prizes can also pose challenges. It is advisable that an unaffiliated third party conduct the appropriate drawing or winner selection to ensure fair play appearance. In addition, when offering prizes in kind, many states require that a cash equivalent be offered as an alternative. Finally, the contest owner must keep a list of winners – with some states requiring that list be submitted to the appropriate state agency.

For prices above certain cash (or cash equivalents) thresholds, three states – Florida, New York, and Rhode Island – apply Contest Registration and Binding Requirements. If the total value of the prizes in a given competition exceeds $ 5,000, Florida and New York must register and tie the game. In Rhode Island, the price threshold for registration is $ 500, but there is no obligation. To avoid having to comply with these requirements, you can exclude residents of any or all of these states from participating in the relevant competition. In addition, you should always prohibit employees of your company and relatives of these employees from participating.

Review your doctorate with a marketing attorney

It is important that you determine all important aspects of the contest or promotion (duration, prize amounts, number of prizes, etc.) in advance as it is legally nearly impossible to start a promotion and publish the rules change material terms. Even so, with proper planning and expert legal guidance, promotions and sweepstakes can be valuable marketing tools – almost always with more than one winner!

Originally published November 18, 2012

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What’s New In 5G – April 2021 – Media, Telecoms, IT, Leisure

United States:

What’s New In 5G – April 2021

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The next-generation of wireless technologies – known as 5G – is
here. Not only is it expected to offer network speeds that are up
to 100 times faster than 4G LTE and reduce latency to nearly zero,
it will allow networks to handle 100 times the number of connected
devices, revolutionizing business and consumer connectivity and
enabling the “Internet of Things.” Leading policymakers –
federal regulators and legislators – are making it a top priority
to ensure that the wireless industry has the tools it needs to
maintain U.S. leadership in commercial 5G deployments. This blog
provides monthly updates on FCC actions and Congressional efforts
to win the race to 5G.

Regulatory Actions and Initiatives

Mid-Band Spectrum

  • The FCC takes additional action on
    Tribal entities’ requests to use spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band.

    • The FCC released an Order on March 11, 2021, granting two requests
      for waiver filed by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
      regarding the definition of eligible Tribal lands for purposes of
      applying for 2.5 GHz band spectrum in the Rural Tribal Priority
      Window. Grant of the waivers will allow the Tribe to obtain 2.5 GHz
      licenses for trust lands in Roulette County, North Dakota, that are
      largely adjacent to the Tribe’s reservation and non-reservation
      trust lands around Trenton, North Dakota.
    • That same day, the FCC made publicly
      available a grant (from August 2020) of emergency special temporary
      authority to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the
      Flathead Nation
      to operate on unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum
      during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • In addition, on March 30, 2021, the
      FCC released three Orders granting additional requests for waiver
      related to the definition of Tribal lands. Grant of the waiver
      request to the Passamaquoddy Tribe will allow it to obtain
      a 2.5 GHz license for approximately 94,000 acres of trust lands
      that fall outside of the Tribe’s Pleasant Point and Indian
      Township reservations. Grant of the waiver request to the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of
      will allow it to obtain a license for several
      parcels of fee lands owned by the Tribe that are adjacent to and
      near its reservation in Northern California. And grant of the
      waiver request to the Squaxin Island Tribe will allow it to
      provide service for several parcels of trust land in the Mason
      County and Thurston County, Washington, region, some of which are
      immediately adjacent to the Tribe’s reservation.
  • The FCC grants the first
    authorizations for mid-band spectrum to provide 5G services and
    prepares the band for commercial operations.

    • On March 12, 2021, the FCC released a
      Public Notice announcing the grant of
      applications for licenses in the 3.5 GHz band. A subsequent Public Notice with additional grants was also
      released on March 26, 2021. The auction, the first of mid-band
      spectrum to support next-generation 5G services, concluded in
      September 2020 and has been touted by FCC Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel as
      “demonstrat[ing] US leadership in spectrum
    • Relatedly, on March 9, 2021, the FCC
      released a Public Notice certifying Key Bridge as a
      Spectrum Access System for the 3.5 GHz band, which, among others,
      will coordinate use of the band. FCC Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel
      applauded the certification and the progress
      made on the 3.5 GHz spectrum sharing regime, noting that “[i]t
      is exciting to see the rapid rise of the FCC’s Citizens
      Broadband Radio Service” and “[w]e are making history
      with this innovative band.”
    • On March 29, 2021, the FCC issued a
      Public Notice seeking comment on a Request for Partial Waiver submitted by the
      National Football League regarding the use of Citizen Broadband
      Radio Service (“CBRS”) devices. The NFL seeks authority
      to operate General Authorized Access CBRS units without connecting
      to a Spectrum Access System, in the event the team loses an
      Internet connection. Comments are due April 8, 2021, and reply
      comments are due April 15, 2021.
  • The FCC adopts rules that make
    spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for commercial
    services and seeks input on an auction of that spectrum.

    • On March 17, 2021, the FCC adopted an
      Order that makes 100 megahertz of spectrum in
      the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for full-power commercial wireless
      services across the contiguous United States, while also ensuring
      that existing federal users can have access to the spectrum on a
      protected basis where and when they need it. In contrast to the draft Order that was released, the final
      Order, among other things, adopts 10-megahertz blocks for the band
      to promote wider participation in the auction of the spectrum.
    • On the same day, the FCC adopted a Public Notice that seeks comment on the
      procedures to be used for the auction of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band and
      proposes to commence bidding in early October 2021, consistent with
      its statutory objective to auction the spectrum by December 31,
      2021. The Public Notice generally proposes auction procedures that
      are consistent with those that have been used in recent FCC
      spectrum auctions. Comments on the Public Notice are due April 14,
      2021, and reply comments are due April 29, 2021.

High-Band Spectrum

  • The FCC grants an extension for
    public input on reallocating spectrum in the 12 GHz band for
    commercial wireless use.

    • On March 29, 2021, the FCC released
      an Order granting the Computer &
      Communications Industry Association, INCOMPAS, Open Technology
      Institute at New America, and Public Knowledge’s request for a
      30-day extension of the comment deadlines for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which seeks
      comment on adding a new or expanded terrestrial mobile allocation
      to the 12.2-12.7 GHz (the “12 GHz”) band. The band is
      currently used for Direct Broadcast Satellite service,
      Multi-Channel Video and Data Distribution Service, and Fixed
      Satellite Service (space-to-Earth) limited to non-geostationary
      orbit systems. Comments and reply comments are now due May 7, 2021
      and June 7, 2021, respectively.

5G Networks and Infrastructure

  • The FCC announces a list of equipment
    and services that pose a national security risk to U.S.
    communications networks and provides preliminary cost estimates for
    removal and replacement.

    • The FCC released a Public Notice on March 12, 2021, announcing the
      publication of its “Covered List” of equipment and
      services that are deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to the
      national security of the United States. The list, which is attached
      as an appendix to the Public Notice and is available on the
      FCC’s website, includes certain equipment or services
      produced by the following entities, as well as their subsidiaries
      and affiliates: (1) Huawei Technologies Company, (2) ZTE
      Corporation, (3) Hytera Communications Corporation, (4) Hangzhou
      Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and (5) Dahua Technology
      Company. FCC Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel explained that “[t]his list is a big step
      toward restoring trust in our communications networks” and
      “provides meaningful guidance that will ensure that as
      next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not
      repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that
      will pose a threat to U.S. national security or the security and
      safety of Americans.”
    • On March 25, 2021, the FCC released a
      Public Notice seeking comment on a Supply Chain
      Reimbursement Program Study and a preliminary Catalog of Eligible
      Expenses and Estimated Costs that will inform the FCC’s
      reimbursement program for providers that are required to remove
      equipment and services that pose a national security risk from
      their networks. The Public Notice also seeks comment on a
      preliminary List of Categories of Suggested Replacement Equipment
      and Services to aid with the replacement of covered equipment and
      services. Comments on all three documents are due April 26,
    • FCC Commissioner Carr recently called for further action to address the
      threats posed by China by closing a security loophole that allows
      insecure devices to continue to be used in U.S. networks.
      Specifically, the FCC’s rules prohibit companies from
      purchasing suspect equipment using federal funds, known as
      Universal Service Funds, but does not prohibit them from using
      private funds to purchase and use that exact same
      equipment. He also called for the FCC to take action to ensure that
      devices made with forced labor do not enter the U.S. market.
  • The FCC solicits feedback on Open RAN

    • On March 17, 2021, the FCC adopted a
      Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) that seeks
      input on the current status and deployment of Open Radio Access
      Networks (“Open RAN”), which some parties assert are a
      potential path to drive 5G innovation, and virtualized network
      environments, domestically and internationally. Comments on the NOI
      are due April 28, 2021, and reply comments are due May 28,

Other Spectrum and Infrastructure Matters

  • FCC Commissioner Carr suggests a
    roadmap for extending U.S. leadership in 5G.

    • At an event hosted by the American
      Enterprise Institute, FCC Commissioner Carr announced his 5G agenda, including plans on
      spectrum and infrastructure reforms. According to an FCC News Release issued on March 15, 2021, that
      plan includes auctions of spectrum in the 3.45 GHz and 2.5 GHz
      bands in 2021, allowing low-power operations in the 6 GHz band, and
      seeking comment on increasing the power levels for the 3.5 GHz band
      (see above). It also aims to auction additional spectrum in 2022
      and beyond in the 1300-1350 MHz, 42 GHz, and lower 3 GHz, 4.8 GHz,
      and 7 GHz bands.
    • With respect to infrastructure, the
      plan aims to produce updated broadband maps this year (the FCC recently announced broadband data will be collected
      directly from consumers), commence an auction of 5G Fund support next year, act on pending
      infrastructure reforms to drive down the costs of reaching rural
      areas, and expand tower crews needed to complete 5G builds through
      Commissioner Carr’s 5G jobs initiative, among other things.

In the Courts

  • T-Mobile West LLC v. City and
    County of San Francisco

    • On March 18, 2021, the federal
      District Court for the Northern District of California granted
      T-Mobile a significant victory over the City and County of San
      Francisco in T-Mobile’s challenge to the City’s failure to
      timely act on T-Mobile’s site modification applications under
      Section 6409 of the Spectrum Act, 47 U.S.C. § 1455(a) and the
      FCC’s Rules. T-Mobile filed the action after the City failed to
      act on multiple T-Mobile applications to modify existing wireless
      sites within the 60 days required by FCC rules, and T-Mobile
      notified the City that a series of applications were deemed granted
      under the FCC rules. Then, as allowed by the FCC’s rules,
      T-Mobile filed in federal court asking the Court to issue a
      declaratory judgment that the deemed granted notices were
      enforceable, and also asking the Court to order the City to issue
      permits to formalize the legal status of the applications. T-Mobile
      moved for a preliminary injunction and summary judgment.
    • The City opposed T-Mobile’s
      action, arguing that the Tenth Amendment prohibited Congress and
      the Court from ordering the City to take any action.
    • In its Order, the Court grants
      T-Mobile summary judgment on its Section 6409 claim, recognizing
      that T-Mobile’s applications were “Eligibly Facilities
      Requests” that do not substantially change the physical
      dimensions of the existing site, and therefore, under Section 6409,
      the City cannot deny the applications. In doing so, the Court also
      recognizes that the City failed to timely act on the applications
      that T-Mobile deemed granted.

      • Based on the Court’s holding that
        the City violated Section 6409(a), the Court holds that the
        applications deemed granted by T-Mobile “are and
        shall be treated as legal
        by [the City].”
        (Emphasis added). This is strong language that is broad in
      • The Court rejects the City’s sole
        defense that Section 6409 violates the Tenth Amendment to the U.S.
    • The Court also grants in part
      T-Mobile’s motion for injunctive relief. In doing so, the Court
      recognizes that in the FCC’s 2014 Order implementing Section
      6409, the FCC held that Section 6409 applicants could seek
      injunctive relief and that injunctive relief would be appropriate
      “in many cases in light of the balance of equities, including
      the public interest reflected in the statute of promoting rapid but
      responsible wireless facility deployment.”

      • This was an important holding by the
        Court, as the City argued strenuously that Section 6409 did not
        allow any relief beyond the deemed granted notice. The Court
        concluded that T-Mobile demonstrated that it would suffer
        irreparable harm if the City acted to prevent T-Mobile from making
        installations or modifications pursuant to the deemed granted
    • The Court orders that (1) the deemed
      granted applications are “as effective as granted
      applications” as a matter of law, and (2) that the City is
      “estopped from imposing penalties in any way or preventing
      T-Mobile from proceeding with installations for T-Mobile’s
      deemed granted applications.” Although T-Mobile framed its
      motion as being for preliminary injunction, the Court’s remedy
      does not say it is not limited in time to the duration of this
    • The Court’s conclusions are
      strong and positive for T-Mobile and other entities relying on
      Section 6409 to deploy upgrades or collocations of new
  • City of Portland v. U.S.
    • As anticipated, on March 22, 2021,
      the local governments that appealed the FCC’s 2018 “Small
      Cell Order” and “Moratorium Order” filed a Petition
      for Certiorari, asking the Supreme Court to review the Ninth
      Circuit’s decision in City of Portland v. U.S., 969
      F.3d 1020 (9th Cir. 2020).

      • As we previously reported, in City of Portland, the
        Ninth Circuit affirmed the FCC’s orders, rejecting the local
        governments’ various arguments challenging the FCC’s
        clarifications of the “effective prohibition” language of
        Sections 253(a) and 332(c)(7)(B)(i)(II) of the Communications
    • The Petition for Certiorari was
      docketed by the Supreme Court on March 25, 2021. Oppositions are due April 26,
  • Appeal of the 5G Upgrade Order –
    League of California Cities v. FCC

    • On March 16, 2021, the FCC filed a
      motion asking the Ninth Circuit to hold in abeyance for 120 days
      the pending appeal of the FCC’s June 2020 Order clarifying the
      FCC’s rules implementing Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act
      (the so-called “5G Upgrade Order”). The FCC told the
      Court that holding the case in abeyance for 120 days would allow
      the “newly constituted Commission an opportunity to determine
      how it plans to proceed with respect to this case.” The
      request was unopposed.
    • The Court granted the motion on March
      19, 2021, vacating the prior briefing schedule and holding the case
      in abeyance until July 19, 2021.

Legislative Efforts

  • A bill was reintroduced in the Senate
    that would require NTIA to estimate the value of spectrum allocated
    for federal use.

    • On March 3, 2021, Senator Lee
      introduced the Government Spectrum Valuation Act. If enacted,
      the bill would require NTIA to estimate the economic value of
      spectrum between 225 MHz and 95 GHz that is allocated to federal
      entities. Similar bills were introduced in both the Senate and
      House during the 116th Congress.
  • A bill was introduced in the Senate
    that would establish a C-band auction reserve fund, which would be
    used to promote broadband connectivity.

    • On March 4, 2021, Senator Wicker
      introduced the Broadband Reserve Fund Act of 2021, which
      would require net proceeds from the recently concluded C-band
      auction to be deposited in a reserve fund at the Department of
      Treasury. The FCC or NTIA would be able to use the funds to, among
      other things, expand broadband access in unserved areas and
      minority communities, improve communications infrastructure, and
      secure the telecommunications supply chain.
  • A bill was introduced in the Senate
    that would create a grant program to expand the 5G workforce.

    • On March 25, 2021, Senator Wicker
      introduced the Improving Minority Participation and Careers in
      Telecommunications (IMPACT) Act.
      If enacted, the bill would
      establish a grant program that awards $100 million in grants to
      historically Black colleges or universities (“HBCUs”),
      Tribal colleges or universities (“TCUs”), or
      minority-serving institutions for the development of
      telecommunications workforce training programs. It would also
      require NTIA, by December 31, 2022, to award at least 30 percent of
      funds to HBCUs and at least 30 percent of funds to TCUs. FCC
      Commissioner Carr stated that the bill “would help create
      thousands of good-paying jobs while closing the digital divide and
      advancing our 5G leadership.”

Originally Published by Mintz, April 2021

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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United States:

The Facebook Supreme Court ruling affects TCPA litigation

April 05, 2021

Holland & Knight

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The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) only covers random calls and text messages to cell phones from an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS).

The decision in Facebook, Inc. v Duguid et al.The April 1, 2021 ruling overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling for the ninth circuit where the appeals court broadly defined the type of automatic telephone dialing system covered by the TCPA. The Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of the autodialer definition and its applicability to new technologies is a significant asset to the defense. The decision is expected to significantly reduce the number of class action lawsuits under this law.

The Supreme Court agreed with Facebook’s interpretation that an autodialer under the law does not apply to technology used by Facebook and other companies that use similar technologies. The opinion of Justice Sonia Sotomayor states that “[a]
necessary function of an autodialer under [the TCPA] is the ability to use a random or sequence number generator to store or produce phone numbers to be called. “Facebook argued that the company was sending targeted texts to phone numbers already in its database, so the TCPA did not apply.

The aversion to robocalls and texts is a rare bipartisan topic. The decision can open the door for Congress to pass laws that update the 1992 law to cover new technologies or pass laws that apply to technologies used by companies like Facebook. Some states also have TCPA-like laws that set their own restrictions on automated dialing and text messaging. It is therefore important for businesses to assess the state-level restrictions before making changes based on the Supreme Court decision.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. A professional should be consulted about your particular circumstances.

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Is it banned by the FDA or is it Protected Language?

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz

As part of the ongoing monitoring of health claims related to COVID-19, the FDA has issued a warning letter to Dr. Joseph Mercola and Mercola.com, LLC informing them that they are in breach of federal law.

TCPA Tracker – February 2021

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

On December 30, 2020, the FCC released a report and regulation providing guidance on the TCPA exemption requirements.

TCPA Tracker – March 2021

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

On March 9, 2021, Inovalon, Inc. filed a letter requesting the FCC to respond to Inovalon’s declaratory judgment request, confirming that “faxes without a direct commercial purpose …

Bipartisan Senate Invoice Would Improve Fines For Spoofing – Media, Telecoms, IT, Leisure

United States:

Bipartisan Senate bill would increase fines for spoofing

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A non-partisan group of four senators led by Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bill that would increase fines for callers who illegally “forge” their caller ID information. Spoofing is a technique commonly used by callers making illegal robocalls to trick recipients into answering their call. Spoofers mask their caller ID information as if they were being called by a government agency, a well-known company, or someone in the receiving area to build trust and convince the recipient of the call to provide financial and other personal information. The Anti-Spoofing Penalty Modernization Act of 2021 would double the fines currently allowed under the Communications Act. The current civil forfeiture penalty for any violation would increase from $ 10,000 to $ 20,000, or three times that amount for each day of ongoing violation. The current maximum penalty of $ 1,000,000 for a continued violation would increase to $ 2,000,000.

The Anti-Spoofing Penalty Modernization Act of 2021, p. 594, was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which was sponsored by two of the law’s co-sponsors, Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Kyrsten Sinema ( D-AZ) are members.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. A professional should be obtained about your particular circumstances.

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eMail Could Be Right here To Keep Indefinitely! – Media, Telecoms, IT, Leisure

United States:

Email can be here to stay indefinitely!

March 22, 2021

Foley & Lardner

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Computerworld.com reported, “We used email in the 1970s and will continue to use it in the 2070s.” The article of March 17, 2021 entitled “Email is for yesterday, today and tomorrow“included these comments:

People still tell me that email is out of date and can be replaced by Relaxed, Teams, or Google Chat. Some people swear they can do more through instant messaging. Or, better yet, some announce (with a strange look in the eyes from their webcam ring light), Zooming, Google Hangouts Meet, or BlueJean meetings are the future.

The enemies of email claim it is a waste of time and energy to pull the life out of your day with tons of messages in the morning, noon and evening. That it always interrupts her.

What do you think?

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. A professional should be obtained about your particular circumstances.

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The Superintendence Of Trade And Commerce Strikes Once more – Media, Telecoms, IT, Leisure

United States:

The superintendent of industry and trade strikes again

January 26, 2021

Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA)

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This time the company BODYTECH was fined USD 50,150. The reason, incomplete, unclear some confusing information given to consumers. With regard to distance selling by telephone, BODYTECH did not provide consumers with sufficient information on the terms of the contract, the price, the existence of the right of withdrawal and withdrawal or the conditions of exercise. In addition, the contracts contained conflicting information. With regard to the term, the contract initially provides for an unlimited term, but also provides that the term can be extended by the conclusion of a new partnership agreement for the same or a different term. The decision is not final as an appeal is available. However, the evidence gathered in the process is strong enough to support the fine.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. A professional should be obtained about your particular circumstances.

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Esport: what to expect in 2021

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

The esports ecosystem has seen transcendental growth in 2020, at least in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is poised to act as a stepping stone for even further growth this year.