Communications Law and Practice

Law and Practice

by Stuart N. Brotman

This is the first comprehensive and current guide to the complex legal and business issues involved in modern communications.

Communications Law and Practice offers clear explanations of the laws regulating telephony, including:

  • Cellular telephone advances;
  • Radio and television broadcasting;
  • Wireless communications; and
  • Communications satellites.

It provides an overview of key technical and business developments for each industry, such as recent mergers and acquisitions in the telecommunications industry, as well as an examination of the legislative, regulatory and judicial reactions to these developments.

Throughout, it contains useful insights into directions in communications law and policy, including digital media developments. The book also includes a full analysis of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the most expansive communications law since the Communications Act of 1934.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: A Brief History of Communications Regulation in the United States

§1.01 Early Regulation of Radio: The Radio Act of 1927
[1] The Invention of Radio
[2] Early Radio Regulation: 1910-1920
[3] 1920s Radio Chaos
[4] The Radio Act of 1927

§1.02 The Communications Act of 1934 and the Establishment of the Federal Communications Commission

§1.03 Cable Television: the Emerging Role of Congress
[1] Early FCC Regulation of Cable Television
[2] Deregulation: The Cable Communications Act of 1984
[3] The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992
[4] The Telecommunications Act of 1996

§1.04 Regulation of Common Carriers Before Divestiture
[1] Early Telegraph Regulation
[2] Invention of the Telephone
[3] Telephone Regulation Before the 1934 Act
[4] The Communications Act of 1934 1-26
[5] “Natural Monopoly” and “Continued Surveillance”
[6] Entry of MCI into the Market

CHAPTER 2: Regulation of Broadcasting: AM & FM Radio

§2.01 The Statutory Scheme for Radio Regulation
[1] Sources
[2] The “Public Interest, Convenience or Necessity”
[3] The FCC, Politics and Broadcast Regulation
[4] The First Amendment, Spectrum Scarcity and Radio Regulation

§2.02 Licensing of Radio Stations and Renewals
[1] Licensing and the Public Interest
[2] Comparative Hearings vs. Market Allocation
[3] The Licensing Process for Radio Stations
[4] Qualifications for Obtaining a Radio Broadcast License
[5] Mutually Exclusive Initial Applications and Comparative Hearings
[6] License Renewal
[7] License Renewal Challenges
[8] Comparative Hearings

§2.03 Diversity of Voices: Multiple and Cross-Ownership Rules
[1] Limiting Ownership Concentration
[2] “Ownership” Defined
[3] National Ownership Rules
[4] Local Ownership Rule
[5] Cross-Ownership Rules: One-to-a-Market Rule
[6] Waiver
[7] Future Rules

§2.04 Radio Broadcast Programming Regulation
[1] The Fairness Doctrine
[2] The Demise of the Personal Attack Rule
[3] Political Broadcasting: Equal Opportunity for Political Candidates
[4] Indecency and Obscenity

§2.05 Engineering Matters
[1] Antenna Height Requirements
[2] Transmission Power
[3] Safety Requirements: Transmission Tower Maintenance
[4] Software Defined Radio

§2.06 Allocation and Construction Permits
[1] Allocation of Frequencies
[2] Construction Permits (CPs)

§2.07 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
[1] General Concept

§2.08 Legal Aspects of Buying and Selling Radio Stations
[1] “Transfer of Control”
[2] Commission Permission Required
[3] Required Forms
[4] Distress Sales
[5] Tax Certificates
[6] Tender Offers and Proxy Contests
[7] Financing Purchases: Capital Formation, Security Interests and Licenses

§2.09 Network Affiliation Matters

§2.10 Low-Power FM Radio

§2.11 Copyright Issues

CHAPTER 3: Regulation of Broadcasting: Television

§3.01 Statutory Sources and Television Regulation
[1] Adoption of Radio Standards for Television
[2] Public-Interest Standard

§3.02 Licensing of Television Stations and Renewals
[1] Licensing and the Public Interest
[2] Comparative Hearings vs. Market Allocation
[3] The Licensing Process for Television Stations
[4] Qualifications for Obtaining a Broadcast License
[5] Mutually Exclusive Initial Applications and Comparative Hearings
[6] License Renewal
[7] License Renewal Challenges and Comparative Hearings
[8] Class A Licenses

§3.03 Diversity of Voices: Multiple and Cross-Ownership Rules
[1] Minority Ownership
[2] National Ownership Rules
[3] Local Ownership
[4] Waiver of the One-to-a-Market Rule
[5] Television/Cable Cross-Ownership Rules
[6] The Future of the Diversity Rules

§3.04 Television Programming Regulation
[1] FCC Jurisdiction
[2] TV Ratings
[3] Advertising
[4] Must-Carry Rules
[5] Video Description Requirements

§3.04A The Communications Decency Act

§3.05 Engineering Matters
[1] Antennas
[2] Signal Power

§3.06 Allocation and Construction Permits
[1] Allocation of Television Frequencies
[2] Construction Permits (CPs)

§3.07 Equal Employment Opportunity Rules
[1] General Concept

§3.08 Legal Aspects of Buying and Selling Television Stations

§3.09 Network Affiliation Matters
[1] Prime Time Access Rule (PTAR)
[2] Ownership of Stations by Networks
[3] Territorial Exclusivity
[4] Financial Interest and Syndication of Programming (“Fin-Syn”)

§3.10 Children’s Television Programming
[1] Programming
[2] Advertising

§3.11 Political Programming
[1] Political Debates on Public Television Stations

§3.12 The Transition to Digital Television (DTV)
[1] Domestic Implementation
[2] International Implementation

§3.13 Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming

CHAPTER 4: Telephony: FCC and Judicial Oversight of Domestic Regulatory Concerns

§4.01 Definition of Common Carrier
[1] Statutory Ambiguity
[2] History of the Term “Common Carrier”
[3] Judicial Definition
[4] Elements of the Statutory Definition of Common Carrier

§4.02 Federal Jurisdiction over Common Carriers: Preemption
[1] FCC Jurisdiction over Common Carriers
[2] Federal Preemptive Authority

§4.03 Title II Obligations of Common Carriers
[1] The Regulatory Scheme of Title II
[2] Common Carrier Duties, in Brief

§4.04 Market Power and Rate Regulation
[1] The FCC Must Regulate Rates
[2] Competing Common Carriers and Revised Rate Policy

§4.05 Breakup of the Bell System
[1] The Divestiture Process
[2] Provisions of the Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ)
[3] Modification and the Continuing Role of the Judiciary

§4.06 Access and Bypass
[1] Access
[2] Access Charges
[3] Bypass

§4.07 Competition for Local Telephone Service Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996
[1] Interconnection
[2] Judicial Review of State Commissions' Interconnection Decisions
[3] “Slamming” and “Cramming”
[4] Access by People with Disabilities
[5] Telemarketing Rules

§4.08 Numbering Issues

§4.09 Law Enforcement Issues

§4.10 Emergency Communications

CHAPTER 5: Telephony: Regulatory Oversight of Domestic and International Market Structure and Wireless Communications

§5.01 Universal Service
[1] Definition of “Universal Service”
[2] Rationales for Universal Service
[3] Evolution of the Policy
[4] Enforcement Mechanisms and Rates
[5] Rural Service

§5.02 Deregulated Markets
[1] New Technologies and Competition: The Above 890 MHz and Specialized Common Carrier Decisions
[2] Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) (Terminal Equipment)
[3] Enhanced Services
[4] Structural Separation and Nonstructural Safeguards

§5.03 Intrastate Telephony Regulation
[1] Statutory Authority
[2] State/Local Regulation Can Have a Significant Impact
[3] Divergent Regulatory Perspectives: State vs. Federal

§5.04 United States: International Telephony
[1] United States: International Systems
[2] Regulatory Issues
[3] Financial Issues

§5.05 Wireless Services
[1] Evolution of Regulation: 1945 Divestiture
[2] Wireless Service Definitions
[3] Consumer Protection
[4] Regulatory Authority
[5] Separate Subsidiaries
[6] MFJ Line of Business Restrictions
[7] Interconnection
[8] Spectrum Allocation
[9] Defining Service Areas
[10] Reconciling Incompatible Standards

CHAPTER 6: Communications Satellite Regulation

§6.01 Domestic Communications Satellite Regulation
[1] Introduction: FCC Authority
[2] The Domestic Satellite Industry
[3] General FCC Regulation of Space Stations
[4] Regulation of Fixed Earth Stations
[5] Mobile Satellite Services
[6] Radiodetermination Satellite Services
[7] Low Earth Orbit Satellites
[8] Broadband Fixed-Satellite Services
[9] Direct Broadcast Satellite Services
[10] Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service and Wireless Communications Services

§6.02 International Communications Satellite Regulation
[1] Introduction
[2] Development of the Monopoly System: The Communications Satellite Act of 1962
[5] Other International Satellite Organizations
[6] The International Telecommunication Union
[7] Eliminating the Distinction Between Domestic and International Satellite Service

CHAPTER 7: International Communications Law and Policy in the United States

§7.01 International Communications Law and Policy Makers in the United States
[1] Domestic Telecommunications and International Policy
[2] Regulatory Authority of the FCC in International Issues
[3] Executive Agencies
[4] Congress

§7.02 International Telecommunications from the United States
[1] The Regulatory Framework
[2] Importance of International Telecommunications to the United States
[3] Transoceanic Cables
[4] The Voice and Record Distinction
[5] Market Structure

§7.03 International Trade
[1] General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
[2] United States-Canada Radio Frequency Coordination Arrangement
[3] North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
[4] International Financial Issues
[5] United States Trade Statutes
[6] Fostering Competition
[7] Limitations on Export of Communications
[8] United States Laws of Alien Ownership

CHAPTER 8: New Directions in Communications Law and Policy

§8.01 Introduction
[1] The Telecommunications Act of 1996
[2] The Importance of Communications Development
[3] Changing Law and Policy
[4] Antiterrorism Legislation and Regulations
[5] Global Information Infrastructure

§8.02 Technological Revolution and the Blurring of Industry Definitions
[1] Technology Enables Convergence
[2] The Convergence of Cable and Telephone Markets

§8.03 The Continuing Role of Government and Regulation
[1] Standards
[2] Interoperability
[3] Intellectual Property Issues
[4] Privacy/Data Protection



1,525 pages
Published by Law Journal Press
ISBN 9781588520708