Saturday, January 27, 2007

F-word is Indecent according to the FCC

The FCC received several complaints from organizations and individual viewers of Fox Network’s broadcast of “The 2003 Billboard Music Awards.” The indecent material complained of stemmed from remarks made by Nicole Richie to co-host Paris Hilton, where she said “f***ing.” Fox conceded to using the word but also contended that the use was not “pandering, titillating or shocking” and was not actionably indecent.

The Commission defines indecent speech as material that, in context, depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities or organs in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium.

The Commission decided that Ms. Richie’s use of the F-word, although not describing excretory activities, still fell within the scope of indecency because using the word for emphasis or as an intensifier has long been found an indecent use. The word carries with it an implied sexual connotation and therefore will always fall within the definition of “indecent.”

In the Matter of Complaints
Regarding Various Television Broadcasts
FCC 06-166 (Nov. 2006)

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment against Defendant, StreamCast.

The Plaintiffs were a group of record companies, movie studios and music publishers. Defendant, StreamCast, was found liable for the infringement committed by its users on the basis of the inducement doctrine.

The Inducement Doctrine provides that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.

An unlawful objective to promote infringement can be shown by a variety of means. The classic instance of inducement is by advertisement or solicitation that broadcasts a message designed to stimulate others to commit violations.

The court found that evidence of Defendant’s objective of promoting infringement was overwhelming and that no reasonable fact finder could conclude that Defendant provided services and distributed a software program without the intent to induce infringement.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inx. v. Grokster, Ltd.
2006 WL 2806882