Mass Media Communications
Our lawyers represent a number of broadcasters, including the largest group owner of independent television stations and the affiliates of one of the broadcast television networks, as well as a number of other television groups and station owners. On a day-to-day basis, the group advises these broadcasters on a wide range of issues including political advertising, public issue broadcasting, closed-captioning, emergency alert system (EAS) requirements, webcasting, copyright issues, equal employment opportunity programs, radio frequency emissions and tower siting. In 2006, Sidley represented various broadcast groups, including the major television networks, on administrative and Constitutional law issues arising from the FCC’s regulations of “indecent broadcasts.” Sidley represented Fox Television Network in challenging the FCC’s indecency rules in the Second Circuit and in the Third Circuit.
Sidley advises clients regarding FCC restrictions on the cross-ownership of various media. Sidley routinely provides all legal services related to such transactions, including negotiation and preparation of contracts, preparation of FCC applications and related advocacy, as well as assisting in tax planning for such transactions. Our lawyers have represented several clients that have been forerunners in the trend towards convergence and have sought to assemble multimedia platforms for the distribution of content. This work includes advice and regulatory advocacy in the purchase and sale of broadcast, cable and newspaper properties before the FCC, the Department of Justice and the federal appeals courts. The firm has also represented group cable system owners in conjunction with mergers, purchases or sales of various cable systems and cable programming networks in negotiations for carriage with various multichannel video programming distributors.
Our lawyers participate in the ongoing policy, technical and operational debates at the FCC arising from the transition to digital television (DTV). This activity ranges from counseling clients on the FCC’s evolving rules and policies governing the build-out and operation of DTV stations, advocacy before the FCC to waive and/or modify these rules and policies to conform with operational realities, as well as advocacy urging the FCC to authorize the use of new technologies that can enhance the ability of broadcasters to deliver reliable DTV signals for indoor reception. Our lawyers have also assisted a major Direct Broadcast Satellite distributor in the roll-out of a new satellite delivered internet service to the home. This comprehensive assistance included negotiations with content providers as well as the carriers providing the necessary satellite capacity to deliver the service.
Sidley represents various manufacturers and distributors of telecommunications, video, satellite, computer and private radio equipment, advising these ventures on the regulatory implications of new and existing products under federal law.