NAB Tells FCC: Local TV Business Is Weakening

This isn’t what you usually hear from broadcast execs — and it certainly doesn’t jibe with the industry’s message to Wall Street. But the National Association of Broadcasters NAB logotakes the bearish view in a new filing at the FCC that responds … Read More »

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Justice Department Urges FCC To Scrutinize TV Station “Sidecar” Arrangements

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 1:41pm PST

This map from Free Press shows how commonplace so-called “sidecar” agreements have become — and today the Justice Department says it’s time for the FCC to hit the brakes on the deals that enable one station to sell ads or provide services for others in a … Read More »

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FCC And Justice Department Bless Verizon Deal With Comcast

By | Thursday August 16, 2012 @ 7:36am PDT

Consumer advocates say that this pretty much ends prospects that cable and phone companies will vigorously compete in wired and wireless broadband. But government officials believe they extracted enough compromises from the companies to resolve antitrust concerns and protect the public interest. The Justice Department filed a consent decree to let Verizon pay close to $4B to a consortium of cable companies led by Comcast for some airwave spectrum they control, as the erstwhile competitors also strike a series of agreements to develop products and cross-market each other’s services. The FCC also is teed up to endorse the deal; Chairman Julius Genachowski said he will circulate an order based on the consent decree to be approved by the full commission. Read More »

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Are Federal Officials About To Approve Verizon’s Alliance With Big Cable?

By | Tuesday August 14, 2012 @ 6:18am PDT

It sure looks that way for the controversial deal after the companies, the FCC, and Justice Department “reached broad agreement to settle antitrust concerns,” The Wall Street Journal says this morning. Verizon agreed in December to … Read More »

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House Dems Say Verizon Wireless Deal With Comcast “Raises Serious Concerns”

The letter from 32 House Democrats to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and Attorney General Eric Holder comes as the two agencies head into the home stretch of their review of Verizon‘s nearly $4B deal to buy wireless spectrum from Comcast and other cable companies — and cross-market each other’s services. The FCC is expected to approve it, but the Justice Department remains concerned that it might result in rate hikes, Reuters reports. The FCC declined Friday to grant a critic of the deal, Public Knowledge, additional time to comment on it. The letter today from the House Democrats says that the Verizon-cable deal would “appear to turn the promise of the 1996 Telecommunications Act on its head.” When the law wiped away many cable regulations, “consumers were promised the benefits of increased competition between cable and phone companies, driving investment in broadband networks, creating jobs, enabling new and improved services and applications, and lower prices.” But Verizon’s deal with cable “would eliminate or reduce cross-platform competition and diminish incentives to expand FiOS deployment. This would leave many of the communities that we represent on the wrong side of the digital divide.” The companies have told Congress that the new arrangement would help the companies to create broadband services without diminishing competition. “There’s nothing in these transactions that will stop us from trying to beat the brains out of FiOS,” Comcast EVP David Cohen said in March. Here’s today’s letter:

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Amazon Cheers As Three Publishers Agree To End Challenged E-Book Pricing Practices

By | Wednesday April 11, 2012 @ 2:23pm PDT

Amazon did a victory dance of sorts today after the Justice Department filed its e-book pricing antitrust case against Apple and five book publishers — three of whom (Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster) have agreed to a … Read More »

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Justice Department Sues Apple And Publishers For E-Book Price Fixing

By | Wednesday April 11, 2012 @ 7:32am PDT

Justice Department Sue AppleThe suit was filed at the federal district court in New York and alleges that Apple conspired with Hachette, News Corp’s HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and CBS’ Simon & Schuster to limit competition — thereby keeping e-book … Read More »

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MegaUpload Asset Seizure “Null And Void”

By | Sunday March 18, 2012 @ 1:14pm PDT

New Zealand authorities may be forced to return millions of dollars in personal property of MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom that was seized in connection with his January arrest because of a procedural error in court documents, according to the … Read More »

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Hactivists Attack MPAA And Universal Music Sites Following Megaupload Indictments

By | Thursday January 19, 2012 @ 3:28pm PST

MPAA Cheers Federal Assault on Megaupload
Feds Shut File-Sharing Site Megaupload

The group Anonymous appears to have crashed sites for the Justice Department, Universal Music, and the MPAA — apparently to retaliate for the Justice Department’s effort to close Megaupload. … Read More »

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MPAA Cheers Federal Assault on Megaupload

By | Thursday January 19, 2012 @ 2:46pm PST

CEO Chris Dodd calls the site — shuttered today by the Justice Department — “the largest and most active criminally operated website targeting creative content in the world.” Here’s the MPAA statement:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department and

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AT&T Succumbs To The Inevitable: Drops T-Mobile Merger Plan

By | Monday December 19, 2011 @ 2:15pm PST

There goes the $4B break-up fee that AT&T promised to pay T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom if the merger went awry. Meanwhile, shares of Sprint Nextel — which risked being marginalized by the AT&T/T-Mobile combo — are up 7.9% in … Read More »

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Comcast’s Brian Roberts Agrees To Pay $500K Fine For Violating Pre-Merger Stock Notification Rules

By | Friday December 16, 2011 @ 11:13am PST

UPDATED: The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission made the announcement today. Justice is filing a civil suit against Comcast’s Brian Roberts, but with the proposed settlement agreement that includes the fine. Officials went after him because this is the third time Roberts failed to report that he had been granted stock above a government-set threshold that required him to make an official disclosure. The question is: How could a company that employs so many high-priced lawyers be so sloppy?

Still, the Federal Trade Commission — which brought the case to the Justice Department — says that it only sought a modest fine. It notes that ”the violation was inadvertent and technical; that it was apparently due to faulty advice from outside counsel; that Roberts did not gain financially from the violation; and that he reported the violation promptly once it was discovered.” Comcast says that executives “take very seriously our obligations to comply with all aspects of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and working with our lawyers we have put in place additional safeguards to ensure that an inadvertent violation does not occur in the future.” Here’s the DOJ release announcing the fine: Read More »

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White House Teams With Media Companies To Warn Against Pirated Merchandise

Obama administration officials unveiled today a series of TV, radio, print, and Internet public-service ads that link bogus goods including pirated movies and music with higher crime, lost jobs, and child labor. Intellectual property crimes “are anything but victimless,” Attorney General Eric Holder said, … Read More »

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Judge OKs Comcast-NBC Universal Deal With 2 Years Oversight Of Online Vid Impact

By | Thursday September 1, 2011 @ 4:18pm PDT

A federal judge cleared the Comcast-NBC Universal deal today with the provision that the court will retain oversight of its effect on the online video market for the next two years. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in Washington that the … Read More »

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Hacking Update: Attorney General Meets With 9/11 Families; News Corp Reportedly Paying Arrested UK Editor’s Legal Fees

Today’s meeting between U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and a group of family members of 9/11 victims was held in Washington and lasted more than hour, according to attorney Norman Siegel, who represents the 9/11 families. The group sought the meeting in the wake of reports that News Corp reporters may have attempted to hack into victims’ family members’ phone numbers, much in the same way journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the Worldhacked into phones of the families of London bombing victims and murdered children, as well as of politicians and celebrities. That fallout from that scandal caused NOTW to shutter and eventually ended News Corp’s bid to take over the UK’s biggest satellite TV provider BSkyB. Holder didn’t say today whether there were phone records indicating tampering on this side of the pond, Siegel said, but did say that the FBI investigation is in the preliminary stages. Read More »

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