The FCC's Indecent Proposal: Copyright Implications of the Proposed 'Record and Retain' Rule
29 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2006 Last revised: 5 Feb 2010
Date Written: Spring 2006
The issue of broadcast indecency has recently been on the forefront of congressional and regulatory agendas. Prompted in part by the January 2004 Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently proposed a new regulation that would require broadcasters to maintain an archive of their entire program stream. The FCC believes the recordings would aid in the investigation of indecency complaints against broadcasters.
While there are many troubling aspects to the FCC's proposal, this article explores the copyright implications of the proposed rule. The paper argues that if the FCC were to promulgate the new rule, it would force broadcasters to infringe upon the material rights of various programming producers. This issue is illustrative of a fundamental tension between the Copyright Act and the Communications Act that has caused trouble before and will undoubtedly do so again in the future.
Keywords: broadcasting, FCC, indecency, copyright, regulation, media, communications
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation