The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Which law bars FCC censorship of satellite broadcasts?
The basic law on the matter is 18 USC 1464:
Whoever utters any obscene, indecent, or profane language by means of radio communication shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
It was originally enacted, more or less in this form, in §29 of the Radio Act of 1927 (PDF).
Now, when TV came along, there was presumably some case which applied the rule, mutatis mutandis, to images.
But where is the definition for radio communication ? And, if regular TV is within the section, why isn't direct broadcasting by satellite (DBS)?
Now 18 USC 1468  says that
Whoever knowingly utters any obscene language or distributes any obscene matter by means of cable television or subscription services on television, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or by a fine in accordance with this title, or bothand says that
As used in this section, the term ''distribute'' means to send, transmit, retransmit, telecast, broadcast, or cablecast, including by wire, microwave, or satellite...
If §1464 applied to satellite, §1468 would be superfluous.
The answer will no doubt turn up eventually: Micawber is the patron saint of Online!
While the URL is to hand, a general paper on Regulation and Deregulation of Telecommunications may be of interest. Also this, this (PDF), this (PDF), this (PDF), this, this and this (PDF) (of varying degrees of relevance!).
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