The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Hollywood posse saddles up for First Amendment shootout with FCC

Viacom, together with an eclectic band of organisations and individuals, have petitioned the FCC to reconsider its new regime of indecency and profanity regulation.

The April 19 petition was written by First Amendment expert, Robert Corn-Revere - who, before a House subcommittee, cast a deluge of doubt on the constitutionality of 18 USC 1464, and the whole machinery for FCC censorship of indecency and profanity (piece of March 19).

From an initial squint, the petition is more specifically concerned with the Golden Globes Bono fuck decision. But it seems hard to think that this is anything less than a letter before action. (It is hardly conceivable that the FCC will grant the petition!)

I'm far from clear as to the procedure: the petition refers to 47 USC 405 - which makes the availability of judicial review for non-parties against an FCC ruling conditional on their having filed a timely petition against the ruling.

Judicial review is distinct from an appeal against the decision to the DC Circuit Court which is only available to parties and others listed in 47 USC 402(b).

(Viacom - or rather its subsidiary, Infinity - could have appealed against one of the March 18 decisions made against it (March 19). Perhaps that would not make as clean a case to make the First Amendment challenge.)

Presumably, the requirements of Article III in relation, for instance, to standing would have to be satisfied. Some of the petitioners - Penn and Teller? - might have more difficulty than others, perhaps.

Meanwhile, 'Sonny Boy' Powell has been shmoozing the NAB, in an interview - can you say Karen Ryan? - with Sam Donaldson.

He didn't address the petition, but did point out that
There's been more push from the Democratic side than the Republican side, although they've pushed it too.

Chance of directing liberal outrage at Mrs McCarthy, Nancy Pelosi, and her Dem Comstock cronies? Think Nader taking the oath next January 20...

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