Dennis & Callahan criticized for "election postponed" joke

Sid Schweiger
Wed Nov 5 16:51:05 EST 2008

>>The terms of the licenses that the Commission hands out state clearly
that they do not transfer any ownership interest in the spectrum.
This implies that the public owns it.  47 U.S.C 301:

# It is the purpose of this chapter, among other things, to maintain
# the control of the United States over all the channels of radio
# transmission; and to provide for the use of such channels, but not
# the ownership thereof, by persons for limited periods of time, under
# licenses granted by Federal authority, and no such license shall be
# construed to create any right, beyond the terms, conditions, and
# periods of the license.<<

Huge assumption there, that the lack of ownership on the part of the licensee automatically means the "public" owns it.  That is neither spelled out in 47 USC §301 or spelled out or implied anywhere else.  If anything, the "Federal authority" referred to in section 301 would own it, since they can't license something they don't own (if the "public" owns RF spectrum, only they can license it).  Further, printed on every broadcast license for quite a while was the following:

"This license is subject to the right of use or control by the
Government of the United States conferred by Section 606 of the
Communications Act of 1934."

Note:  "government"...not the "public."  (BTW, section 606 no longer exists.)

>>In "The Public and Broadcasting", the Commission writes:

# In exchange for obtaining a valuable license to operate a broadcast
# station using the public airwaves, each radio and television licensee
# is required by law to operate its station in the "public interest,
# convenience and necessity."<<

A pamphlet from the FCC is not the law.

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