ORIGIN AND BACKGROUND Instituted as part of the Communications Act of 1934
COMMISSIONER Appointed by the President of the United States Currently Julius Genachowski (set to resign in June 2013)
FUNCTIONS Main goal is to regulate radio, television, wires, satellites, and cable communication within the United States. Educate and inform consumers and users about telecommunications goods, services and regulations. Enforce and maintain regulations, such as the Communications Act.
OBSCENE, INDECENT AND PROFANE BROADCASTS It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. Also a violation to air indecent and profane language during certain times. (6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.) Congress has given the FCC the responsibility to enforce these laws.
What happens when there is a violation? The FCC may: – Revoke a license – Impose a fine – Issue a warning – http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/articles/fcc- fines/
OBSCENE BROADCASTS Not protected by the First Amendment Cannot be broadcast at any time Supreme Court has a three (3) pronged test: 1.An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest 2.The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law 3.The material, as a whole, must lack serious literary, political, artistic or scientific value.
WINNING A DEFAMATION LAWSUIT Prove that the defendant made a defamatory statement about the plaintiff. A defamatory statement is one that damages a plaintiff's reputation for good character. Some statements are so defamatory (e.g., Tim is a pedophile) that the plaintiff does not have to prove harm to his reputation; it is considered "defamation per se." Otherwise, a plaintiff will have to explain how his reputation has suffered as a result of defendant's statement. The defendant will have an opportunity to rebut the plaintiff's argument by submitting evidence that the plaintiff already had a poor reputation or that the statement is true. 2 Prove that the defendant published the defamatory statement about the plaintiff. The publishing requirement is met by the defamatory statement being spoken to third-party (i.e., not the plaintiff) and does not require publishment in mass media. If, however, the defamatory statement appears in a newspaper, magazine or on social media outlets proving this element will be easy. 3 Prove that the defendant knew that the defamatory statement was false. The law does not protect defendants who willfully harm the reputation of another. Such clear cut cases of defamation are rare in litigation and a more likely scenario is when a defendant should have known that a defamatory statement. For example, a court will not shield a reporter from defamation liability where it is proven that had she conducted due diligence her research would have revealed the defamatory statement to be false. Courts consider failure to conduct due diligence to be a form of negligence. Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_8325716_win-defamation-lawsuit.html#ixzz2kXRQldM6