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FCC Eliminates Out-dated Media Related Rules.

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Released: August 24, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1432

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Amendment of Parts 1, 73 and 76 of the
)
Commission’s Rules Regarding
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Practice and Procedure: Broadcast Applications
)
and Proceedings
)
)

Radio Broadcast Services: Fairness Doctrine and
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Digital Broadcast Television Redistribution
)
Control
)
)

Multichannel Video and Cable Television Service: )
Fairness Doctrine, Personal Attacks, Political
)
Editorials and Complaints Regarding Cable
)
Programming Service Rates
)
)

ORDER

Adopted: August 24, 2011

Released: August 24, 2011

By the Chief, Media Bureau, and Deputy Managing Director, Office of Managing Director:
1.
In this Order, we make several nonsubstantive, editorial revisions to Parts 1, 73 and 76 of
the Commission’s rules. We make these revisions to delete certain rule provisions that are without
current legal effect and obsolete.
2.
Specifically, this Order deletes Part 1, Subpart D of the Commission’s rules to eliminate
rules that merely redirect the reader to see similar, re-numbered rules. There is no need to retain these
Broadcast Applications and Proceedings rules as the re-numbered rules are properly indexed and
accessible. Therefore, Subpart D of Part 1 of the Commission’s rules, which includes 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.502
through § 1.615, is no longer needed and is deleted as obsolete.
3.
This Order deletes both broadcast and cable rules referencing the Commission’s so-called
“fairness doctrine.” The Commission abrogated the fairness doctrine in 1987, after concluding that it no
longer served the public interest, was not statutorily mandated, and was inconsistent with First
Amendment values.1 “[T]he FCC reasoned that the doctrine imposed substantial burdens on broadcasters
without countervailing benefits. As a result, the FCC concluded that the doctrine was inconsistent with
both the public interest and the First Amendment principles it was intended to promote.”2 In 1989, the


1 See Syracuse Peace Council, 2 FCC Rcd 5043 (1987), recon. denied, 3 FCC Rcd 2035 (1988). In 1989, the Court
of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the Commission’s conclusion that the fairness doctrine no
longer served the public interest, without reaching the question of the constitutionality of the fairness doctrine.
Syracuse Peace Council v. FCC, 867 F.2d 654, 656 (D.C. Cir. 1989), cert denied, 493 U.S. 1019 (1990).
2 Radio-Television News Directors Assoc. v. FCC, 184 F.3d 872, 876 (D.C. Cir. 1999).

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1432

D.C. Circuit affirmed the FCC’s conclusion that the fairness doctrine no longer served the public interest,
without reaching the constitutional question.3 Thus, the Commission’s broadcast rule, 47 C.F.R. §
73.1910, and the Commission’s origination cablecast rule, 47 C.F.R. § 76.209, both referencing the
defunct fairness doctrine, are without current legal effect and are deleted as obsolete.
4.
This Order also deletes cable rules that were corollaries to the defunct fairness doctrine,
the personal attack and political editorial rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.1612 and 76.1613, respectively. The
D.C. Circuit issued a writ of mandamus directing the Commission immediately to repeal the personal
attack and political editorial rules on October 11, 2000,4 which the Commission did on October 26, 2000.5
Through an oversight, however, the Commission failed to delete sections 76.1612 and 76.1613 at the
time: shortly before the repeal order was adopted, the cable personal attack and political editorial rules
had been relocated to different rule sections as part of a non-substantive rule restructuring,6 and the order
repealing them referred to the superseded rule sections rather than the new ones.7 Thus, the
Commission’s cable personal attack and political editorial rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.1612 and 76.1613, are
without current legal effect and are deleted as obsolete.
5.
This Order deletes the Commission’s “broadcast flag” rules, adopted in 2003. The
broadcast flag rules were intended to prevent the indiscriminate distribution of television broadcast
content over the Internet.8 The Commission’s rules were subsequently vacated by the Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit.9 Therefore, the Commission’s broadcast flag rules, 47 C.F.R. §
73.8000 (b) (3), part of (b) (4) (the reference to 47 C.F.R. § 73.9000), and (c) and 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.9000
through 73.9009, are without current legal effect and are deleted as obsolete.
6.
Finally, this Order deletes rules pertaining to the process for filing and adjudicating
complaints concerning the rates charged by a cable system for its cable programming services tier
(“CPST”). The Commission’s authority to regulate CPST rates sunset in 1999.10 Therefore, the
Commission’s CPST complaint process rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.950, 76.951, 76.953, 76.954, 76.955,
76.956, 76.957, 76.960, 76.961, 76.1402, 76.1605 and 76.1606 are without current legal effect and are
deleted as obsolete.
7.
The rule amendments adopted in this Order and set forth in the attached Appendix are
nonsubstantive, editorial revisions of the rules under 47 C.F.R. § 0.231 (b). The revisions adopted in this
Order merely delete obsolete rule provisions and we find good cause to conclude that notice and comment
procedures are unnecessary and would not serve any useful purpose. See 5 U.S.C. § 553 (b) (3) (B).
Because the rules being deleted are obsolete and without current legal effect, we also find good cause to
make these nonsubstantive, editorial revisions of the rules effective upon publication in the Federal


3 Syracuse Peace Council v. FCC, 867 F.2d 654, 656 (D.C. Cir. 1989), cert denied, 493 U.S. 1019 (1990).
4 Radio-Television News Directors Association v. FCC, 229 F.3d 269 (D.C. Cir. 2000).
5 Repeal or Modification of the Personal Attack and Political Editorial Rules, Order, 15 FCC Rcd 20697 (2000).
6 See 1998 Biennial Review--Multichannel Video and Cable Television Service, 14 FCC Rcd 4653, 4690 (1999).
7 See Repeal or Modification of the Personal Attack and Political Editorial Rules, 15 FCC Rcd at 20697. The new
rule sections became effective on October 5, 2000, see 65 FR 53610-01 (Sept. 5, 2000), less than a month before the
adoption and release of the order repealing the personal attack and political editorial rules on October 26, 2000.
8 See Digital Broadcast Content Protection, 18 FCC Rcd 23550 (2003).
9 See American Library Association, et al. v. FCC, 406 F3d 689 (D.C. Cir. 2005).
10 See 47 U.S.C. § 543 (c) (4) (“This subsection shall not apply to cable programming services provided after March
31, 1999.”); see also, Cable Services Action, Cable Television Upper Tier Rate Regulation Ends March 31, 1999,
Report No. CS 99-4 (March 29, 1999).
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1432

Register. See 5 U.S.C. § 553 (d) (3).
8.
Because this Order is being adopted without notice and comment, the Regulatory
Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. § 601 et seq., does not apply.
9.
The rules contained herein have been analyzed with respect to the Paperwork Reduction
Act of 1995 and found to contain no new or modified form, information collection, and/or recordkeeping,
labeling, disclosure, or record retention requirements, and will not increase or decrease burden hours
imposed on the public.11 In addition, therefore, this Order does not contain any new or modified
“information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees,” pursuant to
the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198.12 The Commission will send a
copy of the Order in a report to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the
Congressional Review Act.13
10.
For further information, contact Katie Costello, FCC Media Bureau, Policy Division,
Room 4-C830, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554, (202) 418-2233, katie.costello@fcc.gov.
11.
Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED THAT

, effective upon publication in the Federal
Register, Parts 1, 73 and 76 of the Commission's rules

ARE AMENDED

, as set forth in the attached
Appendix, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 4 (i), 5 (c) and 303 (r) of the Communications
Act, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154 (i), 155 (c) and 303 (r), and section 0.231 (b) of the Commission's regulations, 47
C.F.R. § 0.231 (b).
12.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Secretary shall cause a copy of this Order to be
published in the Federal Register.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
William T. Lake
Chief, Media Bureau
Dana Shaffer
Deputy Managing Director


11 See Public Law 104-13, 44 U.S.C. §3501, et seq.
12 See 44 U.S.C. § 3506 (c) (4).
13 See 5 U.S.C. § 801 (a) (1) (A).
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1432

Revised Rules

Part 1 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
Part 1 — PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
1.
The authority citation for Part 1 continues to read as follows:
AUTHORITY: 15 U.S.C. 79, et seq.; 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 155, 157, 225, 227, 303(r), and 309.
2.
Remove Subpart D.

Subpart D [Removed]

Part 73 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
Part 73 — RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES
1.
The authority citation for Part 73 continues to read as follows:
AUTHORITY: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336 and 339.
2.
Remove § 73.1910.
§73.1910 [Removed]
3.
Revise Subpart L to read as follows:

Subpart L – Incorporated Standards

§ 73.8000 Incorporation by reference.
(a) The materials listed in this section are incorporated by reference in this part. These
incorporations by reference were approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance
with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. These materials are incorporated as they exist on the
date of the approval, and notice of any change in these materials will be published in the Federal
Register. The materials are available for inspection at the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC), 445 12th St., SW., Reference Information Center, Room CY–A257, Washington, DC
20554 and at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the
availability of this material at NARA, call 202–741–6030, or go to:
http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations /ibr_locations.html.
(b) The following materials are available from Advanced Television Systems Committee
(ATSC), 1750 K Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006, or at the ATSC Web site:
http://www.atsc.org/standards.html.
(1) ATSC A/52: “ATSC Standard Digital Audio Compression (AC–3),” 1995, IBR
approved for § 73.682.
(2) ATSC A/53 Parts 1–4 and 6: 2007 “ATSC Digital Television Standard,” (January 3,
2007) and ATSC A/53 Part 5: 2010 “ATSC Digital Television Standard: Part 5--AC–3 Audio
System Characteristic,” (July 6, 2010), as listed below:
(i) A/53, Part 1:2007, “Digital Television System” (January 3, 2007), IBR approved for §
73.682.
(ii) A/53, Part 2:2007, “RF/Transmission System Characteristics” (January 3, 2007), IBR
approved for § 73.682.
(iii) A/53, Part 3:2007, “Service Multiplex and Transport Subsystem Characteristics”
(January 3, 2007), IBR approved for § 73.682.
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1432

(iv) A/53, Part 4:2007, “MPEG–2 Video System Characteristics” (January 3, 2007), IBR
approved for § 73.682, except for § 6.1.2 of A/53 Part 4: 2007, and the phrase “see Table 6.2” in
section 6.1.1 Table 6.1 and section 6.1.3 Table 6.3.
(v) A/53, Part 5: 2010, “AC–3 Audio System Characteristics” (July 6, 2010), IBR
approved for § 73.682.
(vi) A/53, Part 6:2007, “Enhanced AC–3 Audio System Characteristics” (January 3,
2007), IBR approved for § 73.682.
(3) [Reserved]
(4) ATSC A/65C: “ATSC Program and System Information Protocol for Terrestrial
Broadcast and Cable, Revision C With Amendment No. 1 dated May 9, 2006,” (January 2, 2006),
IBR approved for §§ 73.682.
(c) [Reserved]
(d) The following materials are available at the FCC, 445 12th St., SW., Reference
Information Center, Room CY–A257, Washington, DC 20554, or at the FCC's Office of
Engineering and Technology (OET) Web site: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/documents/bulletins/.
(1) OET Bulletin No. 69: “Longley–Rice Methodology for Evaluating TV Coverage and
Interference” (February 6, 2004), IBR approved for § 73.616.
(2) [Reserved]
4.
Remove Subpart M.

Subpart M [Removed]

Part 76 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
Part 76 — MULTICHANNEL VIDEO AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE
1.
The authority citation for Part 76 continues to read as follows:
AUTHORITY: 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 153, 154, 301, 302, 302a, 303, 303a, 307, 308, 309, 312, 315, 317,
325, 339, 340, 341, 503, 521, 522, 531, 532, 534, 535, 536, 537, 543, 544, 544a, 545, 548, 549, 552, 554,
556, 558, 560, 561, 571, 572 and 573.
2.
Remove §76.209.
§76.209 [Removed]
3.
Remove § 76.950.
§76.950 [Removed]
4.
Remove §76.951.
§76.951 [Removed]
5.
Remove §76.953.
§76.953 [Removed]
6.
Remove §76.954.
§76.954 [Removed]
7.
Remove §76.955.
§76.955 [Removed]
8.
Remove §76.956.
§76.956 [Removed]
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1432

9.
Remove §76.957.
§76.957 [Removed]
10.
Remove §76.960.
§76.960 [Removed]
11.
Remove §76.961.
§76.961 [Removed]
12.
In §76.985, remove forms entitled "INSTRUCTIONS FOR FCC 329," "FCC329".
§76.985 [Amended]
13.
Remove §76.1402.
§76.1402 [Removed]
14.
Remove § 76.1605.
§76.1605 [Removed]
15.
Remove § 76.1606.
§76.1606 [Removed]
16.
Remove § 76.1612.
§76.1612 [Removed]
17.
Remove § 76.1613.
§76.1613 [Removed]
6

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