In a 2-1 ruling today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals effectively ended net neutrality, striking down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. The FCC’s order was intended to keep broadband providers from interfering with traffic on the Web. The issue of who should regulate internet access has been the subject of much debate in the last […]
On Monday, June 27th, the Supreme Court announced that upon returning from its summer recess in October, it would revisit the Federal Communication Commission’s rule that allows it to fine broadcasters for “indecency.” Last year, the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC was violating broadcasters’ free-speech rights. The Court […]
There is some good news in the prolonged battle of fleeting expletives in the media, FCC v. Fox Television Stations. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the FCC’s ban on fleeting expletives is unconstitutionally vague. This comes off the heels of a Supreme Court decision upholding the FCC’s authority under the Administrative […]
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court dealt a legal setback to supporters of “net neutrality.” The court ruled (Comcast v. FCC) that the FCC does not presently have the authority to control an ISP’s network management practices and therefore cannot require Comcast (one of a small number of powerful corporations whose networks comprise the Internet) to […]
On Monday, FCC Chair Julius Genachowski announced the commission’s support of net neutrality, a principle which holds that Internet Service Providers (e.g. Comcast, Verizon, Time-Warner, AT&T) should not be permitted to discriminate against specific online content or applications and privilege other content with higher quality service. In introducing the National Broadband Plan, Genachowski, described some of the threats […]
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On Tuesday April 28, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the matter of FCC v. Fox Television Stations, which on its face appears to be hostile to free speech interests.
In a 5-4 decision, the Court sided with the FCC, finding that the agency had not been arbitrary or capricious in its sanctioning of Fox Television Stations, Inc. over two instances of live broadcasts where the F- and S- words were uttered. The FCC had determined that these instances of “fleeting expletives” were indecent, but not protected by the First Amendment— despite a long standing tradition of fleeting instances of indecent content being immune from FCC sanctions.
Every cloud has its silver lining, however. This case’s silver lining is that it will ultimately be fantastic for free expression, in that Justice Antonin Scalia, in writing for the majority, declined to make a decision regarding the constitutionality of the FCC’s new policy regarding fleeting expletives, instead sending the case back to the lower court for further deliberation on this issue.
It’s censorship projection day today. Leslie Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology weighs in on the political landscape for internet censorship post-COPA at the Huffington Post: So what happens next? Will Congress once again beat against the tide and enact yet another Internet censorship law? … Will the Obama administration […]
Kevin Martin, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, is still working to push a plan to create a free wireless broadband network. Public Knowledge, which supports the plan, writes: We appreciate the potential of a new service that could provide a genuine alternative to the current wireline cable modem/DSL duopoly, to apply pressure on […]
Editorial from the Detroit Free Press: Television broadcasts shouldn’t be filled with curse words uttered without regard to purpose, time of day or relevance. But it’s equally true that the Federal Communications Commission, which has adopted increasingly aggressive but vaguely defined standards for punishing broadcasters who air curse words, shouldn’t have such a free hand […]
CommLaw Blog is covering FCC v Fox Television in the Supreme Court. But as Marjorie Heins points out at the Free Expression Policy Project, it looks like the case will turn on what should be censored for “indecency” rather than whether or not the FCC’s censorship poses a threat to the First Amendment. She writes: […]