Overview Of Media Law


You are probably used to watching TV or listening to the radio without ever having to worry about how those TV and radio frequencies are monitored or regulated. The process is actually very strict and detailed, but many people simply don't care as long as their favorite programs are not interrupted. However, it can be important to learn what your rights as a consumer are in the event that they are either violated or changed when new laws are passed. It is important to know how regulations can affect the prices you pay and the services that you have access to.

The FCC monitors most all forms of wireless communication that are non-governmental in spectrum. This means that all of your radio, TV, satellite, and internet all go through the FCC before it reaches you. I don't mean that the FCC physically processes the signal, but it does monitor and regulate all of it to the best of its ability. The FCC grants stations and broadcasting companies the right to use certain frequencies and spectrums in order to broadcast their messages to you. However, you might ask how the FCC can license something that occurs naturally. Well, the Congress actually gave the FCC, which is an independent organization monitored by the government, the rights and authority to regulate these spectrums. As a result, the FCC is the organization responsible for granting and revoking licenses.

This can become interesting because there are so many different forms of communication that it would seem very difficult for one organization to stay balanced and fair. The FCC was responsible for breaking up the phone monopoly in the mid 20th century, but could be accused of creating both a telephone and radio monopoly in the 21st century. Most of the power seems to be gathering in fewer hands these days, which means that either some companies are becoming more powerful, or that the FCC isn't doing its job.

As a result, you have several groups trying to force de-regulation by pirating radio and TV signals. They call themselves free radio and free TV, but the FCC has declared them as illegal entities that are able to be fined or put in jail for their actions. This is brining up whole new round of debate, especially with the introduction of satellite radio and TV. Take the instance of the XM and Sirius merger, which has created a monopoly within satellite radio. It seems as if the rules are changing and most people are not aware of how it can affect them.

As a consumer, it is important for you to watch the watcher so that you can effectively prevent costs from skyrocketing or you getting taken advantage of. There are many proposals underway to change the way that this industry works, and I highly recommend that you take an active role in learning about them and whether or not you support them. The industry could change for the better if we aren't doing our part to watch it.