The PIRATE Act Moves Closer to Adoption

Legislation that would dramatically increase penalties against operators of unlicensed radio broadcasts continues to make its way through the U.S. Congress.

Approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in late February, the Act, “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act” (aka, the PIRATE Act) would impose penalties of up to $100,000 per day for each day during which a person “willingly and knowingly does or causes or suffers to be done any pirate radio broadcasting,” up to a limit of $2 million. The Act would also require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct “annual sweeps” in the five geographic areas where pirate radio operations are most prevalent in an effort to identify and eliminate illegal broadcasts, and to establish a publicly-available database of all licensed radio stations operating on AM and FM bands in the U.S., as well as listings of entities that have received a Notice of Unlicensed Operation.

The House bill (H.R. 583) has now been forwarded to the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for further discussion.

Our readers can stay abreast of future developments regarding this legislative effort through the U.S. Congress portal at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/583.

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