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FCC Indecency Rules Don't Apply to Satellite Radio

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the making-the-right-choice dept.

Censorship 330

SirTwitchALot writes "The FCC has announced that Satellite radio services do not have to comply with the same indecency requirements as traditional broadcasters. Apparently this decision was brought forth by the complaint of a traditional radio station owner, stating that the FCC needs to "level the playing field." Chalk up a win for continued freedom on subscription services."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

And (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130565)

How much does it cost that traditional station owner to be available in nearly every car and home in his area? That's what I thought.

Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130570)

Now Howard Stern can do what he wants. (WOOT NAKED LESBIAN STRIPPERS!!)

Thank you for listening . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130573)

to WCOK, your 24 hour cock station. Cock in your ear, on Satellite, all the time!

~~~

Stuffin' Martha's Muffin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130575)

Chalk up a victory for HOWARD STERN'S PENIS.

"Privately owned" (1)

bagel2ooo (106312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130577)

Does FCC control content of any privately owned over-air media medium that requires a closed (black box) type of equipment to access it?

Re:"Privately owned" (4, Insightful)

Monsieur Canard (766354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130609)

That's the gist of the argument. Any service which you have to invite into your home (in other words subscribe to) does not have to meet the same standards as any service which can be picked up accidently by a supposedly innocent bystander.

Re:"Privately owned" (4, Interesting)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130716)

If I buy a television or radio, plug it in, turn it on and tune it in I am inviting the signal into my house.

Maybe this could be settled by opening a new market for television and radios where you have to call and pay a slight fee to activate the "uncensored" channels.

Or just turn on the V-chip (and put them in radios) and allow the conscious act of turning it off (and to protect kids have a PIN system like ... oh yeah ... the V-chip has) to be the acceptance of the purposefulness of my actions.

The whole Janet Jackson debacle should have been left to the free market. MTV/NFL pissed off a whole boatload of people and that was their fault for not understanding their market. If people had to make decisions based on the history of broadcasters instead of using the FCC as a lobby against the entertainment industry, shows would lose viewers (instead they often create "grudge viewers" who watch just to get mad) and the markets would right the boat while viewers would be more intelligent with their watching habits.

The FCC should be for regulating signals and criminal activity. Subjectively "indecent" content should not be able to be punished in a pseudo-criminal manner by an organization that is not representational of their constituency.

Re:"Privately owned" (2, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130740)

Maybe this could be settled by opening a new market for television and radios where you have to call and pay a slight fee to activate the "uncensored" channels.

They have this already. Perhaps you've heard of cable and satellite services?

On occasion, Comedy Central plays the South Park movie, uncut, including the Saddam/Satan bedroom scene and all of the swear words. The run this after 10pm just in case, but it's still there.

Of course, you can still occasionally see some nudity on PBS stations, though they get away with it because it's artful and tastefully done, and some of the darker TV shows on the main three after 10pm would push the lines a bit before the whole Super Bowl incident.

Re:"Privately owned" (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130826)

Except I have to pay for those services ... I am talking about the current advertising-only supported media doing the same thing but providing the service for free (obviously they would do so with equipment that they can protect from something like my lovely TiVo).

I am not fishing for South Park movies or PBS tasteful nudes. If I want to see such things I'll find them online or at the video store.

Re:"Privately owned" (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130900)

What you were referring to are simply subscription services. XM and Sirius offer this for $10 a month or so. Cable and satellite are more expensive because they offer more channels over an expensive network (or at least that's what they claim). If you can come up with a way to offer similar services for $10 a month over the airwaves, I imagine it would probably do pretty well.

Re:"Privately owned" (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130908)

you can still occasionally see some nudity on PBS stations, though they get away with it because it's artful and tastefully done
This is actually supposed to be blurred out prior to broadcast.

Re:"Privately owned" (4, Insightful)

Monsieur Canard (766354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130752)

If I buy a television or radio, plug it in, turn it on and tune it in I am inviting the signal into my house.

But you're forgetting the "Won't somebody think of the children" rule. If I buy a TV just so I can watch Pat Robertson warn me about the evil that gays and *shudder* liberals pose to my existence, what's to prevent my theoretical 5-year old child from turning on the tube and being assaulted by some tripe-spewing volcano of depravity (or an NBA game) coming over the "free" airwaves.

And v-chips? Pshaw I say. I can barely be counted on to form my own opinion when it comes to presidential elections. How am I supposed to regulate what my children watch?

Re:"Privately owned" (3, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130794)

The whole Janet Jackson debacle should have been left to the free market. MTV/NFL pissed off a whole boatload of people and that was their fault for not understanding their market.

No, MTV/NFL pissed off about three people, the rest were whipped up into a frenzy by the press. No-one really cared until the media told them they should.


Over here in the UK, more overt nudity is used to advertise kitchen appliances and motor oil.

Re:"Privately owned" (5, Insightful)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130845)

Yeah, I know. Having travelled to Norway, the UK and Ireland I am familiar with how weird U.S. television policies have become.

Interestingly to me, while there was more sexuality on overseas there were less crime dramas and less violence overall in those areas. I know which of the two I would rather a developing mind see.

Re:"Privately owned" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130673)

Does FCC control content of any privately owned over-air media medium that requires a closed (black box) type of equipment to access it?

I'm not sure what you're asking here.

If by "over-air media medium" you're including stuff like satellite radio, then no, apparently the FCC does not control that, as shown by this ruling.

If you're asking whether someone could hypothetically start broadcasting encrypted data in the radio band and require a black box to open it, well, that's kind of a moot question, because as far as I'm aware FCC regulations *DO* ban encrypted or "black box" communications on most of the public airwaves, so a radio station wouldn't be allowed to do this anyway.

Re:"Privately owned" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130869)

OK, lets get this straight. Satellite radio is every bit as much broadcast as any other radio, even more so. How do you think it allows you to get the same "station" whereever you are? However, it is encrypted, much like DirecTV, and that, coupled with the required decryption unit (which you get as a part of the subscription) is what separates it from the rest of the broadcasters. If a traditional broadcaster wanted to make his or her broadcast service "subscription based" and make it required that listeners "opt in" via a similar manner then I'm pretty sure it would pass the FCC muster.

Re:"Privately owned" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130786)

So only people who pay their monthly subscription fee can enjoy freedom of speech.

Watch my feet you stupid horsemen! (1)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130580)

Michael Powell making a sensible decision? Is the apocalypse nigh?

Re:Watch my feet you stupid horsemen! (1)

Rostin (691447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130682)

Doubtful. The more likely explanation is that zealous /. expectations of irrationality or stupidity have (once again) been stymied by reality.

Re:Watch my feet you stupid horsemen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130698)

Either that or his dad bitch-slapped him silly.

slashdotted (0, Redundant)

jihadi_fungus (839057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130584)

don't you people have anything better to do on a Sunday than slashdot a poor news site??? :)

FCC declines to censor satellite radio

By JENNIFER C. KERR
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission rejected a request Wednesday to begin imposing indecency standards on satellite radio, where frequent agency target Howard Stern is taking his show.

The FCC's media bureau turned aside a radio station owner's request that broadcast indecency regulations apply to subscription satellite services.

Saul Levine, who owns three radio stations in California, asked the commission in October to modify its satellite radio rules to include an indecency provision similar to the one that governs broadcast stations using public airwaves.

In a letter to the FCC, Levine complained that the commission needed to create a "level playing field" in protecting the public interest. "Indecent programming has been and continues to be an ongoing problem - as clearly evidenced by the number of monetary sanctions over the past few years," he wrote.

The agency, in a letter from media bureau chief Kenneth Ferree, declined Levine's request.

"The commission has previously ruled that subscription-based services do not call into play the issue of indecency," Ferree wrote.

Levine, who is president of Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters Inc. in Los Angeles, says the dismissal amounted to a double standard by the FCC.

"The commission is saying it's fine to have obscenity any time of the day or night on satellite radio even though satellite radio is being made available to people without subscriptions," such as in rental cars that come with free service, Levine said in a telephone interview.

Stern, who has repeatedly railed against the "censorship" of the FCC, has been involved in the two biggest radio fines imposed by the agency. That includes a record $1.75 million settlement reached over the summer.

In October, he announced his move to satellite radio and said "the FCC ... has stopped me from doing business." He debuts in January 2006 on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Re:slashdotted (0, Offtopic)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130693)

No, the site is not slashdotted. The story is still the first one on the front page of /. . This is the lowest form of karma-whoring I have seen.

So why can't free media have freedom of expression (3, Insightful)

expro (597113) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130593)

Pay a premium to have a medium that is slightly freer, yet the medium itself is just as controlled and subvertible.

my experience with slash-dot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130641)

hey guys,

i'm not sure exactly what i'm doing here. so...bear with me!

i clicked "geeky" on my match.com personals profile, thinking that i'd maybe get hooked up with somebody who was into math or some kind of toy train hobby or something...boy howdy was i in for a shock! i went on 4 dates with guys who all got on match.com because of osdn personals from slash-dot! 4 guys!

anyway, it didn't really work out with any of them, because it seemed like they were all under some kind of mind-control robot or something! i was like "what do you think about office? office 97 is enough for me, but there are some things about xp that are cool too...." the first guy i asked that to exploded on this tyrade about how office was evil, and that it uses html that's invalid...blah blah blah, whatever...i figured "ok, this guys a freak, but i'm not giving up that easily." so guy number two and i are having dinner, and just as a test i bring up office, and he says the *exact* *same* *things* the first guy said! it was like he was reading from a script! i'm thinking to myself "is everybody from slash-dot programmed to say the same thing or what?" i decided to do a bit of investigation.

i actually surfed over to slash-dot and read some of the articles...mostly they were pretty boring, and the comments were just like i expected judging from my previous past experience: scripted!!! just when i was about to completely write the whole thing off, i found a post from some guy who's with anti-slash, some kind of anti-slash-dot website. i mailed him and was all "i so agree with you guys, look at what sheep these slash-dot people are!" he wrote back and made some funny comments (funny and so *true*!...that is soooo the best kind of humor...but i dirgress...) and guess what? this weekend i'm supposed to meet him for dinner :) if you're reading this, i look forward to meeting you in person, john!

anyway, that's my story. ladies: if you're looking for the real cool geeks, check out anti-slash [anti-slash.org] . and fellas, you should check it out too and maybe use to to break out of your mind-control suits!

ok see ya later,

cyndi

Re:my experience with slash-dot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130829)

whoa, hold on there young lady, this is /. we don't want no stinkin' ladies 'round here. don't you go impugning us with your nonsense. you make a post about "i went out with this guy..." and it's supposed to mean your gay. apparently you don't come here oftern, do you? and if you think you're gonna meet a nice guy at /., c'mon, we're here all banging away on our keyboards talking about pR0n, natalie portman, and goatse, instead of doing something productive!!

You PAY for satellite radio (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130597)

I don't see how they COULD apply. It's not public.

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (1)

Sartak (589317) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130621)

I pay for my cable every month. How come the FCC regulates my South Park, then?

FCC does no such thing (1)

krem81 (578167) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130638)

Comedy Central regulates it.

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (3, Informative)

ALpaca2500 (125123) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130650)

i don't think they do... Comedy Central can broadcast whatever the hell they want, e.g. the south park movie, in its entirety, uncensored...

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (4, Interesting)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130777)

Cable can broadcast whatever they want. There was a Supreme Court Decision on it. From what I understand though, the reason why Cable channels don't just broadcast hardcore pornography is that they want to keep their advertisers.

This is why MTV is so tame. MTV could allow uncensored rap/nudity/etc, but the advertisers are too conservative to alow such a thing. It's just capitalism at work.

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130917)

It kind of goes along with the general right to free speech that we all hold. You're free to say whatever you feel like, but your peers will judge you by what you say.

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130661)

FCC killed Kenny!!! You Bastards!

Free market regulates it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130688)

Comedy Central needs these things called advertisers. They can't do anything too offensive for fear of scaring away viewers and thus the advertisers. They do show several movies completly uncut late at night.

Re:Free market regulates it (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130918)

They can't do anything too offensive for fear of scaring away viewers and thus the advertisers.

Don't you mean the exact opposite? Viewers are not scared of pornography; however, quite a few advertizers would most definately not want to associate their company with some sleezy show. "We now take a break from 'Make fuck, not war' to listen to our sponsors, the Toys R Us store" just doesn't work. Although I am sure there are some companies that wouldn't mind quite so much, I really think that the problem would be not to scare away advertizers, not viewers.

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130713)

Good point. If they didn't regulate it then South Park might broadcast an episode where they just said "shit" over and over and over...

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130765)

Did you catch this episode [tvtome.com] ?

Re:You PAY for satellite radio (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130856)

I don't see how they COULD apply. It's not public.

I don't see how the indecency rules could apply to any television or radio. Little thing called the first amendment.

A sigh of relief ... (1)

dcarey (321183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130598)

Well good for them ... I can't imagine the backlash if they had tried to control subscription-based services like this.

I used to care about what happened on regular radio, whether it was begin censored, etc, but regular radio sucks so horribly bad I just don't give a [censored].

I joined XM and never looked back.

Re:A sigh of relief ... (1)

0x000000 (841725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130759)

If they started controlling this as well, it would mean that i could not listen to Howard Stern anymore. Currently i listen to him on Krock in NJ, but i allready got my Sirius subscription.

slashdotted (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130600)

Here's the text:

FCC declines to censor satellite radio

By JENNIFER C. KERR
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission rejected a request Wednesday to begin imposing indecency standards on satellite radio, where frequent agency target Howard Stern is taking his show.

The FCC's media bureau turned aside a radio station owner's request that broadcast indecency regulations apply to subscription satellite services.

Saul Levine, who owns three radio stations in California, asked the commission in October to modify its satellite radio rules to include an indecency provision similar to the one that governs broadcast stations using public airwaves.

When pressed, the FCC also declined to elaborate on its position regarding slashdot's editors. It is widely known that they practice unethical journalism and censorship, yet the FCC has not seen fit to ban them from public view.

In a letter to the FCC, Levine complained that the commission needed to create a "level playing field" in protecting the public interest. "Indecent programming has been and continues to be an ongoing problem - as clearly evidenced by the number of monetary sanctions over the past few years," he wrote.

The agency, in a letter from media bureau chief Kenneth Ferree, declined Levine's request.

"The commission has previously ruled that subscription-based services do not call into play the issue of indecency," Ferree wrote.

Levine, who is president of Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters Inc. in Los Angeles, says the dismissal amounted to a double standard by the FCC.

"The commission is saying it's fine to have obscenity any time of the day or night on satellite radio even though satellite radio is being made available to people without subscriptions," such as in rental cars that come with free service, Levine said in a telephone interview.

Stern, who has repeatedly railed against the "censorship" of the FCC, has been involved in the two biggest radio fines imposed by the agency. That includes a record $1.75 million settlement reached over the summer.

In October, he announced his move to satellite radio and said "the FCC ... has stopped me from doing business." He debuts in January 2006 on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Re:slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130677)

LOL, RTFA!!

line 7 (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130742)

very well written ! fits right in, I find it kind of funny when this is pulled off well, such as this, however the copycats that will lamely attempt more spoofs such as this will of course make it annoying..

TV is subscription too (5, Funny)

DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130601)

This makes me wonder why the FCC has such power over TV. Not that I liked seeing Janet Jackson's breast or anything...

Re:TV is subscription too (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130610)

Yeah ... I've never gotten excited over synthetic android breasts either.

Re:TV is subscription too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130645)

I've never gotten excited over synthetic android breasts either.

No, her brother's the android.

Re:TV is subscription too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130701)

no, no, he's not an android, he's an androgynoid.

That wasn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130616)

There's over-the-air broadcast TV (ie your local NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, WB, UPN, PBS, etc) and there's cable/etc. Janet Jackson's breast appeared on free, broadcast TV, not a subscription service.

Re:TV is subscription too (1)

DJayC (595440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130647)

If the Janet Jackson incident would have been on HBO, or some other cable channel, it wouldn't have been a problem. That would be the equivalent of Sirius or XM. However, it happened on a network station, one that is freely available to anyone with a TV and an antenna (much like FM radio)... that's why the FCC was able to penalize the station/Janet.

Re:TV is subscription too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130680)

That explains the how of the matter. That doesn't rationalize it.

Is it better that we teach people to be ashamed of the human body or is it better that we teach them to idolize the ritualized group violence of something like football?

Personally I say neither, but the FCC seems to go for both.

my experience with linux guys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130674)

hey guys,

i'm not sure exactly what i'm doing here. so...bear with me!

i clicked "geeky" on my match.com personals profile, thinking that i'd maybe get hooked up with somebody who was into math or some kind of toy train hobby or something...boy howdy was i in for a shock! i went on 4 dates with guys who all got on match.com because of osdn personals from slash-dot! 4 guys!

anyway, it didn't really work out with any of them, because it seemed like they were all under some kind of mind-control robot or something! i was like "what do you think about office? office 97 is enough for me, but there are some things about xp that are cool too...." the first guy i asked that to exploded on this tyrade about how office was evil, and that it uses html that's invalid...blah blah blah, whatever...i figured "ok, this guys a freak, but i'm not giving up that easily." so guy number two and i are having dinner, and just as a test i bring up office, and he says the *exact* *same* *things* the first guy said! it was like he was reading from a script! i'm thinking to myself "is everybody from slash-dot programmed to say the same thing or what?" i decided to do a bit of investigation.

i actually surfed over to slash-dot and read some of the articles...mostly they were pretty boring, and the comments were just like i expected judging from my previous past experience: scripted!!! just when i was about to completely write the whole thing off, i found a post from some guy who's with anti-slash, some kind of anti-slash-dot website. i mailed him and was all "i so agree with you guys, look at what sheep these slash-dot people are!" he wrote back and made some funny comments (funny and so *true*!...that is soooo the best kind of humor...but i dirgress...) and guess what? this weekend i'm supposed to meet him for dinner :) if you're reading this, i look forward to meeting you in person, john!

anyway, that's my story. ladies: if you're looking for the real cool geeks, check out anti-slash [anti-slash.org] . and fellas, you should check it out too and maybe use to to break out of your mind-control suits!

ok see ya later,

cyndi

Re:my experience with linux guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130823)

You're such a weak troll it hurts, "Cyndi".

Go back to your cave.

Re:TV is subscription too (3, Informative)

pdkrocul (734752) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130684)

Because TV broadcasts over the "people's airwaves".
Cable TV subscribers often forget that many people in the US don't have cable, and rely on over the air broadcasts.
The FCC controls the process that TV stations follow to obtain a broascast license.
The bigger question is how did the FCC evolve from a technical organization to a decency enforcer?

Re:TV is subscription too (1)

0x000000 (841725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130780)

They are not just censoring breasts, they are also censoring good movies. I'd rather have sex and love in a movie rather than all the violence that they have in movies these days.

Re:TV is subscription too (2, Informative)

Weeb (69841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130834)

No, TV is not subscription too. The broadcast networks can be picked up by anyone with a brain and a half-functioning set -- including children.

Premium cable services like Cinemax and HBO require considerable effort to procure, thus cursing and even softcore smut is permissable on these services. Just like satellite. If Satellite could be censored, you could say goodbye to The Sopranos' 2006 season, among many other shows with content and dialogue that might be "questionable." Hurrah for the FCC.

This time.

So... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130611)

The FCC rules that FCC rules do not apply to things outside of the FCC's domain.

Again.

I can't decide whether I find it comforting these kinds of rulings keep showing up so often or worrisome these kinds of rulings are even being CONSIDERED.

If someone asks them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130634)

What are they supposed to? Just ignore it? They have to say "No, that doesn't apply to us."

Re:So... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130690)

Well ... if there's one thing the private sector has finally figured out is that it can subve^H^H^H^H^Hinfluence government in ways that would have never been considered in previous eras. Rather than operate within the law and make a profit, adapting to changing market conditions when necessary, the modern approach is simply to have the law changed to prevent changing market conditions. That's what I find disturbing. At least here the FCC rejected a blatant attempt by a private organization to encourage the Federal bureacracy to take an anticompetitive stance. Good for them, this time, but next time 'round this will probably involve Congress and then what happens is anyone's guess.

kind of funny (3, Insightful)

anti11es (167289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130615)

Kind of funny (and rather sad) how instead of fighting the censorship they would rather just have everybody under the same censorship...yey everybody loses.

Opie and Anthony (0, Offtopic)

fuctape (618618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130618)

O&A, on XM premium, is (or maybe eventually will be) the greatest radio show in history.

Re:Opie and Anthony (1)

christowang (590054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130630)

At least Conner Peterson thinks its great.

Level the playing field? (4, Insightful)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130620)

In a letter to the FCC, Levine complained that the commission needed to create a "level playing field" in protecting the public interest.

Yes! Once the playing field is leveled, to the ground, charred, smoking, apocalyptic, barren of expression... the public interest will have been protected.

Re:Level the playing field? (2, Interesting)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130731)

That is what happens with the FCC today. It is used -by- the people who it was originally created to defend -against-.

The FCC wasn't set up to protect the interests of the media outlets. It was setup to protect everyone ELSE who might have interest in the use of broadcast spectrum.

Historically this meant being sure that no media outlet became a monopoly, and therefore smaller outlets would rail (rightly at the time) against the larger ones.

Now that the larger ones begin to feel threatened by a new technology they are converting the FCC into a protectionist organization for them at the expense of all.

DUH (2, Informative)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130622)

It's like Cable TV. They don't have to adhere to the same standards as traditional broadcast stations. On comedy central they use language like "Pussy" and "Dick" sometimes, you're not likely to hear that on CBS any time soon.

LK

Re:DUH (4, Interesting)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130747)

It's like Cable TV.
Well, a better analogy would be satellite TV. In fact, satellite TV would be just about a perfect analogy, in a world of flawed analogies. Cable TV doesn't involve radio waves broadcast through the air (it involves radio waves channeled through a cable.) The FCC regulates radio waves broadcast, so in theory they could go after satellite TV if they wanted to. But cable TV ought to be outside of their domain.

Had the FCC actually decided that satellite radio had to be `decent', then this would not only put a stop to bad language on Comedy Central, but also to PPV porn on Direct TV or Dish Network, for example. Of course, it doesn't have to be just porn -- any show with nudity would be prohibited.

(It's odd how violence is ok, but the slightest view of a nipple and people go nuts.)

In any event, it's refreshing to see the FCC make a good decision once in a while.

I hope (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130629)

I hope that they use this to keep the NIGGERS off the airwaves.

Re:I hope (0, Troll)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130863)

I hope that they use this to keep the NIGGERS off the airwaves.

The above was modded -1 Troll. Interesting how the rants about freedom of expression only go so far, eh?

Level the playing field? (3, Interesting)

NCraig (773500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130631)

What's next, NBC complaining about HBO? Too bad for Saul Levine that he didn't have Clear Channel on his side. I wonder if that would have given his claim any more weight.

Off topic bit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130649)

Is ANYONE noticig that both suprnova and torrentbits.org have gone down, permanently? WTF?!?

Re:Off topic bit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130665)

Police raids, I believe.(not sure about suprnova, but torrentbits definitely got raided, as did a couple of emule sites like shareconnector)

Subscriptions, Privacy and Indencency (5, Insightful)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130663)

The basic summary of the decision is that because you pay for the service you are inviting the information in (ahhh, reminds me of "Lost Boys" :) and therefore anything "indecent" is your fault.

I think the whole state of affairs is flawed.

1) If I am a well-off under-18 I likely have access to some form of credit account (even if it is just my debit card attached to my allowance). I can subscribe to one of these services much easier than I can to a satellite TV service because I don't need to deal with an installer.

Is it likely? No, and even then most parents aren't going to care as much. Doesn't change the lack of validity in the presumption.

Plus it doesn't stop me from listening to the music / talk / whatever being played by my friends and simply put satellite radio is a lot more portable than the Playboy channel.

2) I can get access to whatever content I want on the Internet ... and by going to a library can do so for free. I can turn on the radio or TV today and still see stuff that is considered indecent by many yet not by me. By equating subscriptions with privacy, we are forced into a culture where to get information we want we have to pay for it. It is the "new" thing today but it will likely be standard tomorrow.

3) It should be up to the adult or a parent and no one else what is indecent. I personally would MUCH rather have a teenage boy listening to Howard Stern enact boyish fantasies than to have that same teenage boy listening to a radical fundamentalist preacher telling him his thoughts are evil (and I know that the reverse is true for many). I may not consider the preacher indecent (though it gets close sometimes), but that just highlights the point AFAIK.

Point is ... we shouldn't have to pay to get freedom of expression and we shouldn't have to be subject to what someone -else- considers decent/indecent.

The general idea here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130727)

Is that the public airwaves are a special case among all forms of media because they are a publicly owned asset.

This is to say, the electromagnetic spectrum on which radio waves are broadcast is considered by the US government to not be owned by anyone. Rather it is owned by the public, as a whole. Because this makes things somewhat difficult to deal with, the public places regulation of this public resource in trust with the FCC.

The FCC is thus charged with managing this resource in the way that maximizes its good to the public. Part of this means balancing out contrasting desires within the public. For example, I want to watch porn. Many other people do not. Many people want to watch "Survivor". I do not. The FCC deals with this by trying to make a variety of viewing/listening options available to the public, and only trying to hold back these options when they cross some sort of line such that some portion of the populace could reasonably claim the presence of that option is actively detrimental to them-- the so-called "decency" standards.

The reason why the FCC has control over "decency" on the airwaves is not because the FCC has any kind of right to regulate "decency", but because radio and television stations are leasing their broadcast capabilities from the FCC and the FCC places certain requirements on its licensees. However nothing of the sort is happening in any of the cases you cite, nor in the case of satellite radio-- since these are consensual broadcasts in a private medium, not broadcasts beamed into your house whether you want it or not on a public medium-- so they are irrelevant to the question of decency on public radio.

Re:The general idea here (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130806)

(parent Anon:0 if you don't seem who I am replying to)

I understand the idea of public trust, I just don't see the system as working anymore.

Simply put there are alternative transmission methods now. I have no problem with the FCC managing the spectrum but the time when they could have any relevant effect on content is gone (very different from when there was no internet, no cellphones, no satellite media and so everyone watched or listened on public analog signals).

If the FCC's content decisions don't stop people from seeing what is subjectively considered "indecent" then all their decisions really end up doing is artificially propping up the pay-for services when the traditional media are restricted. Further they are then mandating that we pay for such services and providing a twisted idea that privacy allows indencency.

In the end I agree with the radio owners who say that the FCC should level the field since the FCC is the one making that field so unplayable. However I don't feel that the FCC should be restricting the pay-for services, rather they should -not- be restricting the others.

Otherwise under the guise of protecting a public asset they are in reality trying to legislate morality and in my final prediction destroying the value of that public asset.

Re:The general idea here (1)

William Tanksley (1752) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130844)

You missed the point of the previous post. The purpose of the FCC is _not_ to "stop people from seeing what is subjectively considered indecent", but rather to manage a publicly owned good. As the manager acting for the owner, they have a right to veto anything they want, subject to the rules of the owner.

I don't agree with the FCC either, but your argument is entirely beside the point and wrong. Especially when you insist that the FCC should be able to control things it doesn't own, simply because it controls things that it DOES own.

-Billy

Re:The general idea here (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130879)

No, my argument is well within the point.

Why? Because the FCC is a government entity and was created to protect and serve the people.

I, and many people with the same opinions, am one of those people.

Then realize that you're talking about an organization that has moved from managing the technical usage of an assett used by non-governmental private companies to managing the content that is distributed over said asset.

In other words, the FCC is no longer acting in what I see as a proper method for a governmental entity, it is acting as a super corporation and improperly influencing the actions of the private market.

If you insist on not seeing it any other way, then consider this the voice of a shareholder (I pay taxes and vote) speaking out against company policies.

If you think the analogy is flawed ... I agree ... but it is not my fault that the FCC has tried to move into the realm of business controls.

Re:Subscriptions, Privacy and Indencency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130748)

I have to agree. Now we have to pay for freedom of access, By pandering to the possibility of children watching we do several things:
  1. We abdicate responsibility for monitoring our children.
  2. We force lowest common denominator television with messages dictated by arcane rules that allow exteme violence but nothing related to sexuality.
  3. We fail the public interest and the ability to make television truly relevant.
Then again, I am all for revoking the public airwaves from broadcasters and renting it back to them in annual auctions.

But you don't have to pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130779)

The ruling came because satellite radio is a subscription service-- not because satellite radio is a for-pay subscription service. The important act is the subscription, not the payment. In fact as noted in the article not everyone who has satellite radio pays for it.

Re:Subscriptions, Privacy and Indencency (3, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130787)

This policy is what is known as a "compromise". Its purpose is not to make you personally 100% happy, nor is it designed to be fully resistant to any labored scenario, analogy or metaphor you might dream up. It's balancing the concerns of 300 million people, and seems to me to be a reasonable job of doing so.

Re:Subscriptions, Privacy and Indencency (0, Troll)

0x000000 (841725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130894)

3 will fail, as most American parents (I am european), are unable to parent their kids. They are to busy doing other things. In europe we at least still have a sense of parenting.

Cheapest shot I've heard: (1)

harks (534599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130667)

"The commission is saying it's fine to have obscenity any time of the day or night on satellite radio even though satellite radio is being made available to people without subscriptions," such as in rental cars that come with free service, Levine said in a telephone interview."
Oh come on. Rental car customers are such a small sample they shouldn't even be considered. Besides, what a company decides to give away to their customers shouldn't make the difference between government censorship of it or not.

Re:Cheapest shot I've heard: (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130764)

More to the point, those drivers are not "people without subscriptions". They're renting a car from a company who has arranged for their use of a subscription service on their behalf.

In the same way, HBO is currently broadcast to millions of hotel guests who aren't directly subscribing to HBO, but who have access to that service due to arrangements that the hotel has made for them.

I guess that when you're getting desperate, every crackpot theory seems pretty reasonable.

Re:Cheapest shot I've heard: (1)

jimmyswimmy (749153) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130814)

Even if you do consider the rental car companies, none of them rent to people under 18 nor do they allow drivers under 18. Which means that someone 18 or over must be in the car at all times when it's running, so this is not a good example.

As far as I know, U-haul is the only company that will rent to 18 year olds. All the other companies require you to be 25, unless your company has a contract with them.

I would say that is one piss-poor argument.

Re:Cheapest shot I've heard: (1)

Mousit (646085) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130907)

It's off-topic, but just to mention:

The state of New York has a law stating the minimum age as 18, and is the only state in the U.S. where an 18-year-old can rent a car without some kind of contract or government license (government employees at 18 or older can rent a car in any state).

For everywhere else, the minimum age is actually 21 years old. Most rental companies enforce 25 because of the insurance premiums (25 is when the official "drop" is), but they don't have to. There are several companies that will rent to 21 and over. Enterprise Rent-a-Car comes to mind immediately, because they advertise that fact in many markets where it's appropriate (like here locally, where the Enterprise location is just a mile or two from a University). They simply charge extra (to cover the insurance premium) if you're under 25.

Indecency? (2, Interesting)

Handbrewer (817519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130678)

Isent indecency regulations unconstitutional? It sounds alot like censorship to me, something that is constitutionally banned in Denmark.
We may not censor anything for whatever reason, i though America had similar laws.
But now that i think of it, i remember all the "bleeps" in imported shows from America, i think indencency laws are oretty dumb, because who has the right to determine what is decent and what is not?

Re:Indecency? (1)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130724)

This is the United States, land of the fee and home of the censored.

Re:Indecency? (1)

teh*fink (618609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130926)

you've hit the nail on the head; that is the argument exactly. problem is, the people in power don't feel a need to change anything, because their idea of decency works for them and their constituents, free speech of whatever minorities be damned...

That guy that complained... (5, Insightful)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130700)

That guy that complained needs to be taken out an beaten. Rental cars? Please... if the customers of rental cars don't like the service so much, and find it so obscene, then they don't rent from that rental company any more.

Listening to Satellite radio is a CHOICE. You can't "accidentally" listen to it. You have to actively and willfully make an attempt to listen to it, and thus the FCC has absolutely NO grounds to censor it.

That guy is just a chump and can't compete in the market place, so he wants big brother to step in and fight his battles for him. People like that need to be removed from the gene pool.

I'm so SICK AND TIRED of being told what I can and can't watch/hear by other people. I wish there was someplace left on this earth I could go start my own nation. /sigh

The wonderful world of American morals (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130720)

Mentioning sex in a positive light=indecent
Calling for all gays to be killed, supporting torture, describing members of various ethnic groups as subhuman etc=Tradtional family values.

Explain Subcription.... (1)

CoolSilver (794518) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130751)

Satellite Radio you pay a monthly fee and is free from the FCC's censoring. My Cable Television is also paid per month. Is this not a subscription? The only difference is satellite radio owns all the stations they provide. They control 100% of the content. Cable television is individully owned and operated. The cable providers can not control what is shown on a specific channel other than not providing it or block it from viewers during certain times. I often wonder why is it such a big deal anymore. Society accepts a lot of behavior on television that is indecent. Indecent is an opinion of the viewer. If you don't like it, turn it off. I do.

Re:Explain Subcription.... (1)

LupusUF (512364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130810)

" Satellite Radio you pay a monthly fee and is free from the FCC's censoring. My Cable Television is also paid per month. Is this not a subscription? The only difference is satellite radio owns all the stations they provide"

The FCC doesn't control cable TV, the FCC can regulate broadcast TV (NBC, CBC, ABC...). While your TV signal may come to you through a subscription service...the broadcast signals are also sent over the public airwaves where anyone with an antenna can get them. If comedy central wants to swear, or even show Janet Jackson's breasts, they can do it. Of course if they go too far they might loose advertisers due to protests and threats of boycotts, but they won't get fined.

Hey FCC, that's good but for an encore... (3, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130782)

...how about laying off cable TV? I've never understood why the Comedy Channel has to edit their damn movies. They're not broadcast transmissions. You have to pay to get them, you can't stick a coathanger antenna out your window and receive them - so what's the problem?

Sponsors (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130862)

Comedy central does not get all of its money from cable subscribers (like HBO does), so it must get sponsorship. That means it must have shows that sponsors are willing to pay for. Since sponsors tend to get a bit gunshy around swearing and nudity, most cable stations have to avoid it.

Unfortunately, sponsor censorship is just a fact of life. If you want to pay for all of your own programming, subscribe to HBO (it's well worth it, IMHO), and get all the sex and swearing you can handle. If you want Proctor & Gamble to pay for your programming, you have to let them dictate what will not be part of it.

aQazaQA

Re:Hey FCC, that's good but for an encore... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130874)

ever watch it after 10pm? they've been airing movies uncut for a while now. one example being South Park.

as said above somewhere, it's the advertisers that are controlling the content on cable.

pornography and satellite TV (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130805)

I am completely broke so I certainly will not be buying a satellite dish for a long, long time, but recently I became curious about pornographic satellite TV in the US and Europe for some reason. I don't recall what sparked it, but I think I wanted to know if European pornography channels reached the US. I'll explain what I learned, although take this all with a grain of salt and double-check it.

There are two major types of satellite in the US. One is TVRO, or "BUD" which uses a large dish and receives mostly on the C band (although I believe it can do ku band) - it uses fairly open standards. The other is DBS (Direct Broadcast System) which uses a mini-dish and receives I believe exclusively on the Ku band - it uses very closed standards. Originally TVRO was more popular, but DBS has become more popular over the years. DirecTV, Echostar's DISH network and a new service called Voom are three American DBS companies.

Looking at broadcast maps, it occurred to me that signals seem to be confined to a continent. European porn channels are mostly confined to Europe, American porn channels are mostly confined to North America. I didn't see any satellite that spanned the Atlantic with its signal. Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah or Tennessee and the City of Cincinatti, Ohio have laws against the content of American porn satellite channels, so satellite companies won't sell to subscribers there (or will limit what they can get). Southern states legislatures probably have an effect on the rest of the country, European satellite TV can show a lot of content that American TV can not. But the adult content Americans can get from Europe is limited, if any, at least from what I could see - correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyhow, I'll look up some specifics about the various channels (like TEN, Playboy etc.) and post it as a reply to this message a little later.

just like TV (3, Interesting)

fractilian (704807) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130830)

Its just like HBO on TV. You are payine for it so if you dont want "nauty content" don't buy it.

Pablum... (3, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130859)

A tasteless form of hot ceral. Also, used to refer to anything without form or substance that is foisted upon people.

Childproofing is the task of running around your house to make it "safe" for an unmonitored child so they can't start fires, can get at poisons (which they will eat) and can break things.

This is what you get when people utterly refuse to raise their children. Parents today want the schools to do it for them. And, want the government to help. And anybody else they can get - as long as they are left out of the process. So, we end up with a society that has been "childproofed". That is really what we are talking about here, isn't it?

The side effect of this is until our society is completely childproofed, we have abberations where children are incompletely raised. The result of this is rampent welfare ("The government OWES me, man!"), theft ("I want, I want NOW!") and vandalism. So, shops put in expensive theft-prevention equipment and police end up dealing with 20-year-old children that never grew up.

How many older or adult children killed their parents this year? How many killed their parents before 1960? How about adjusting this as a percentage of the population and seeing if there is any growth? This is a sure sign of parental abdication.

A Good Decision? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11130881)

Why is this such a good decision?


There should be a level playing field. Censor everything or censor nothing. It is ridiculous to distinguish between over the air and satellite radio. They are both using public airwaves.


Same goes for the recent VOIP rulings. Why tax the poor and give to the rich? Either tax phone calls or don't tax phone calls. If a business is viable it will succeed, if it isn't it deserves to fail.


The Government/FCC should stop playing favorites. There should be a level playing field. Let broadcasters and phone companies compete on equal terms.

WTF!?! this is totally stupid (4, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130889)

What a load of bullshit, this reminds me of the senator who after seeing the video of a marine shooting an injured insurgent in a mosque was outraged and said that embedded news teams should be banned! This is totally ridiculous - OF COURSE the playing field should be levelled, otherwise what is the fucking point of the FCC? The field should however (and this to me is like explaining that the earth goes around the sun) be levelled on the totally opposite direction - get rid of the bloody censorship altogether! WTF are these people smoking?

Now could someone please explain why a V-Chip like system (that either blocks out the audio/video when it gets the signal OR unblocks a scrambled audio/video when it gets the signal) has not been standardised to solve this stupid problem? All the FCC needs to do is find out how many people oppose censorship vs how many are in favour and then decide which system to use and therefore who has to buy new radios/tvs or adaptors if they want to take advantage of it, it really is that simple. Or just do what the rest of the world does and not get so anal about hearing people swear.

So What's the Big Difference? (2, Interesting)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130903)

I'm glad that the FCC won't be trying to extend their influence, but what is the basis of their decision?

Is it mainly technology (satellite vs. land-based), or is it that one is pay-based, and the other is free? This is important.

If it turns out that pay-based is the criterion, then would we start to see some land-based broadcasting systems encrypting their signals and then charging a subscription fee, in order to skirt FCC rules? Or would we start to see the FCC clamp down on any free satellite-based broadcasting companies?

If it's technology-based, what's to stop the FCC (other than Congress) from saying later on, "You know what? We got the satellite stuff too. STFU Howard Stern."

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