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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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Why can't Stern sue Clear Channel?

A Findlaw piece (April 13) suggests why not.

Pity there's nothing (that I've found) that addresses the more pertinent question: how Viacom/Infinity can sue the FCC.

I wonder whether the key lies in the odd structure of the law on broadcast indecency. As I've mentioned several times before, the basic law in 18 USC 1464 - standing in the criminal title of the Code - provides for a jail term for infringements. There's no particular indication in that law as to the mode of enforcement. The FCC regime of enforcement, though based on the criminalising of indecency in that law, is a code on its own, with penalties - not including jail! - completely separate from §1464 [1].

My hunch is that some leverage is to be found in the interstice [2] between the two legislative codes.

  1. The indecency ban was originally part of the regulatory regime when introduced in the Radio Act of 1927 (PDF) (the final sentence of §29). Where it got separated, and picked up that jail sentence, I'm disclined to research right now.

  2. Great word. Usually used in the plural, and, I'd suspected, interstices implied a singular of interstex. (As vertices is the plural of vertex.)

    Wrong. According to Lewis & Short - via the incomparably lean and meaty Perseus - the word in Latin is interstitium. Webster gives interstitium as the source for interstice - which looks completely wrong - as the singular of interstices.

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