FCC Implements New Penalties Under PIRATE Act

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can now penalize those parties that allow illegal radio broadcasting activities on their property.

According to the terms of an Order issued in mid-December, the Commission is now authorized to propose fines of up to $2 million to property owners and managers that house so-called pirate radio broadcasts on their premises, or who knowingly facilitate their operation. This authority falls under the scope of the recently enacted Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act.

Under this expanded authority, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau will first provide written notice to owners and managers that illegal broadcasts are believed to be originating from their properties, thereby giving them the opportunity to remedy the problem. Depending on the response, the Commission has the discretion to take further actions, including levying financial penalties of up to $100,000 per day with a maximum penalty of $2 million.

In its Order, the Commission notes that this expanded enforcement authority is not an exercise of “administrative discretion,” and therefore does not require a notice and public process to take place.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Order amending its enforcement penalties in connection with illegal radio operations.

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