Protocols, Dates Set for Filing Data Related to FCC Legal Actions

Procedures will determine rights for multichannel video programming distributors’ carriage of video programming vendors
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The U.S. government has approved procedures and set dates for the filing of information related to complaints of multichannel video programming distributors’carriage of video programming vendors.

On Feb. 8, 2012, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted a Federal Register notice—Leased Commercial Access; Development of Competition and Diversity in Video Programming Distribution and Carriage—in which document filing protocols over the next three years are detailed.

On Jan. 30, 2012 the White Office of Management & Budget approved, for a period of three years, the information collection requirements relating to the program carriage rules. The deadline for filing such information and documents is Jan. 30, 2015.

In 2011, the FCC took “steps to improve the procedures for addressing program carriage complaints.” Those “steps” are:

– Codifying current rules detailing what a program carriage complainant must demonstrate in its complaint to establish a prima facie case of a program carriage violation.

– Providing the defendant with 60 days to file an answer to a program carriage complaint.

– Establishing deadlines for action by the FCC’s Media Bureau—which develops, recommends and administers U.S. policy and licensing programs relating to electronic media, including cable television, broadcast television and radio—and administrative law judges (ALJ) when acting on program carriage complaints.

– Establishing procedures for the Media Bureau’s consideration of requests for a temporary standstill of the price, terms and other conditions of an existing programming contract by a program carriage complainant seeking renewal of such a contract.

The notice lists several circumstances in which an ALJ must act to ensure a complaint receives proper attention including alternative dispute resolution or an appearance before the judge.