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FCC Seeks Comment on GroupMe Texting Petition

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Released: July 24, 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-1180

Released: July 24, 2012

CONSUMER AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS BUREAU SEEKS COMMENT ON PETITION

FOR EXPEDITED DECLARATORY RULING FROM GROUPME, INC.

CG Docket No. 02-278

Comment Date: August 30, 2012
Reply Comment Date: September 10, 2012

With this Public Notice, we seek comment on a Petition for Declaratory ruling filed by GroupMe,
Inc./Skype Communications S.A.R.L. (GroupMe)1 seeking clarification of two issues arising under the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)2 and Section 64.1200 of the Commission’s rules.3 First,
GroupMe asks the Commission to clarify the meaning of the terms “automatic telephone dialing system”
(ATDS) and “capacity,” as used in 47 U.S.C. § 227(a)(1).4 Second, GroupMe asks the Commission to
clarify that “for non-telemarketing, informational calls or text messages to wireless numbers, which can
permissibly be made using an ATDS under the TCPA with the called party's oral prior express consent,
the caller can rely on a representation from an intermediary that they have obtained the requisite consent
from the called party.”5 GroupMe claims that these clarifications are needed to address the status of these
technologies and services under the statute and implementing regulations.6
According to its petition, GroupMe provides a free group text messaging service for groups of up
to 25 members.7 GroupMe allows users to communicate either over their standard text messaging service
or by using the GroupMe app, which uses a data connection and avoids texting fees.8


1 See GroupMe, Inc., Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling and Clarification, CG Docket No. 02-278 (filed
Mar. 1, 2012) (Petition) (noting that several companies including GroupMe are the subject of class action lawsuits
based on the TCPA’s definition of autodialer and classifications of group text-based services); see also Letters from
Ronald W. Del Sesto, Jr., Counsel for GroupMe, Inc., to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications
Commission (filed July 18 and 20, 2012).
2 Codified as 47 U.S.C. § 227.
3 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200.
4 Petition at 14.
5 Id. at 18.
6 Id. at 2.
7 Id. at 5.
8 Id. at 4.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1180

Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules,9 interested parties may file
comments and reply comments on or before the respective dates indicated on the first page of this Notice.
Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See
Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings
, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
§
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
§
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing.
§
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by
first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the
Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
§
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary must
be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325, Washington, DC
20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together
with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before
entering the building.
§
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail)
must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
§
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille,
large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer &
Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in
accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.10 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a
copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two
business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies).
Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation
must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments
already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission


9 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.415, 1.419.
10 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1180

staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed
consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has
made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing
oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment
filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt,
searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex
parte
rules.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

B. Lynn Follansbee Ratnavale, Consumer and
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 202-418-1514, and
lynn.ratnavale@fcc.gov.
-FCC-
3

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