Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

FCC Indecency Rules Don't Apply to Satellite Radio 330

SirTwitchALot writes "The FCC has announced that Satellite radio services do not have to comply with the same indecency requirements as traditional broadcasters. Apparently this decision was brought forth by the complaint of a traditional radio station owner, stating that the FCC needs to "level the playing field." Chalk up a win for continued freedom on subscription services."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC Indecency Rules Don't Apply to Satellite Radio

Comments Filter:
  • Does FCC control content of any privately owned over-air media medium that requires a closed (black box) type of equipment to access it?
    • by Monsieur Canard ( 766354 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:55PM (#11130609)
      That's the gist of the argument. Any service which you have to invite into your home (in other words subscribe to) does not have to meet the same standards as any service which can be picked up accidently by a supposedly innocent bystander.
      • Re:"Privately owned" (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:11PM (#11130716) Journal
        If I buy a television or radio, plug it in, turn it on and tune it in I am inviting the signal into my house.

        Maybe this could be settled by opening a new market for television and radios where you have to call and pay a slight fee to activate the "uncensored" channels.

        Or just turn on the V-chip (and put them in radios) and allow the conscious act of turning it off (and to protect kids have a PIN system like ... oh yeah ... the V-chip has) to be the acceptance of the purposefulness of my actions.

        The whole Janet Jackson debacle should have been left to the free market. MTV/NFL pissed off a whole boatload of people and that was their fault for not understanding their market. If people had to make decisions based on the history of broadcasters instead of using the FCC as a lobby against the entertainment industry, shows would lose viewers (instead they often create "grudge viewers" who watch just to get mad) and the markets would right the boat while viewers would be more intelligent with their watching habits.

        The FCC should be for regulating signals and criminal activity. Subjectively "indecent" content should not be able to be punished in a pseudo-criminal manner by an organization that is not representational of their constituency.
        • Maybe this could be settled by opening a new market for television and radios where you have to call and pay a slight fee to activate the "uncensored" channels.

          They have this already. Perhaps you've heard of cable and satellite services?

          On occasion, Comedy Central plays the South Park movie, uncut, including the Saddam/Satan bedroom scene and all of the swear words. The run this after 10pm just in case, but it's still there.

          Of course, you can still occasionally see some nudity on PBS stations, though
          • you can still occasionally see some nudity on PBS stations, though they get away with it because it's artful and tastefully done
            This is actually supposed to be blurred out prior to broadcast.
            • by SonicBurst ( 546373 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @02:38PM (#11131334) Homepage
              A few winters ago, my local PBS station (Mountain Lake PBS), was showing a documentary on birthing. Well, they got to the point where the focused the camera on the woman's crotch (not blurred out), and the transmitter hiccupped somehow, freezing the image perfectly centered on her nether region. This wasn't a problem at the studio, it was a problem at the transmitter/antenna site.

              Well, they don't call this station Mountain Lake PBS for nothing. The transmitter is in a pretty remote location and could only be reached by snowmobile at this time of year. So, the image lasted quite a long time (12 hours, IIRC) before it got fixed. As silly as it sounds, the incident made national news. Just thought I'd share.
              • None of this would be an issue if the current crop of Washington idiots would bother to read the constitution. I know, I know, most of them can't read--but they could get Condoleeza Rice to read it to them if they really cared....
        • by Monsieur Canard ( 766354 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:19PM (#11130752)
          If I buy a television or radio, plug it in, turn it on and tune it in I am inviting the signal into my house.

          But you're forgetting the "Won't somebody think of the children" rule. If I buy a TV just so I can watch Pat Robertson warn me about the evil that gays and *shudder* liberals pose to my existence, what's to prevent my theoretical 5-year old child from turning on the tube and being assaulted by some tripe-spewing volcano of depravity (or an NBA game) coming over the "free" airwaves.

          And v-chips? Pshaw I say. I can barely be counted on to form my own opinion when it comes to presidential elections. How am I supposed to regulate what my children watch?
        • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:25PM (#11130794) Homepage
          The whole Janet Jackson debacle should have been left to the free market. MTV/NFL pissed off a whole boatload of people and that was their fault for not understanding their market.

          No, MTV/NFL pissed off about three people, the rest were whipped up into a frenzy by the press. No-one really cared until the media told them they should.

          Over here in the UK, more overt nudity is used to advertise kitchen appliances and motor oil.

        • Re:"Privately owned" (Score:4, Informative)

          by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @04:33PM (#11132076) Homepage
          Arg. I proclaim there was no Janet Jackson debacle. There was a manufactured debacle on the sadly (now) right-wing cable news channels, right wing radio and most importantly a few "decency" (right wing churches SEE: southern, baptist, fundamentalist ) groups flooded the FCC with complaints. In 2003, 99.8 percent of the complaints come from the Parents Television Council []. Here's a sample:

          What Powell did not reveal--apparently because he was unaware--was the source of the complaints. According to a new FCC estimate obtained by Mediaweek, nearly all indecency complaints in 2003--99.8 percent--were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group.

          This year, the trend has continued, and perhaps intensified.

          Through early October, 99.9 percent of indecency complaints--aside from those concerning the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl halftime show broadcast on CBS-- were brought by the PTC, according to the FCC analysis dated Oct. 1. (The agency last week estimated it had received 1,068,767 complaints about broadcast indecency so far this year; the Super Bowl broadcast accounted for over 540,000, according to commissioners' statements.)

          A small fundamentalist group is, with Bush and Powell's avid help, bringing down a blanket of censorship on America.
          • I would counter with the fact that so few people being able to cause such a stink and so much monetary and social damage is a debacle.

            I don't say that it was the fault of Jackson that it happened, but it was a debacle and it was attached to her name.

        • Re:"Privately owned" (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dun Malg ( 230075 )
          If I buy a television or radio, plug it in, turn it on and tune it in I am inviting the signal into my house.

          Not exactly. The airwaves are public property. The idea is that one should be able to purchase a radio and access these public broadcasts without having to resort to extraordinary efforts to avoid (for example) profanity. In the "olden days" there was no way to go to 97.3FM from 100.7FM without passing by 99.1FM due to the nature of the analog tuning dial (and TV was similar). This being the case,

  • by expro ( 597113 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:53PM (#11130593)
    Pay a premium to have a medium that is slightly freer, yet the medium itself is just as controlled and subvertible.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't see how they COULD apply. It's not public.

    • I don't see how they COULD apply. It's not public.

      I don't see how the indecency rules could apply to any television or radio. Little thing called the first amendment.
      • same reason SPAM is illegal.
        Broadcast TV because it is free (as in beer) and is broadcast into your house without your consent then there is a certain level of control the FCC takes.
        Cable can do whatever it wants because you have made an extra step of subscribing to the service, therefore you are actively consenting to reception of whatever material. However, Basic cable is neutered because it has to cater to advertisers.
        • I don't see anything about charging a fee in the first amendment. As long as tv's have off buttons, there's nothing to this argument. In fact, now that the v-chip is in every tv, it should be open season on every type of content imaginable.
          • I don't see anything about needing to be 18 to view pornography, nor is there anything about consent from the listening party (SPAM/Telemarketing) in the first amendment either.
            By your logic if you want to have email or a telephone there's no arguement against SPAM or Telemarketing. In fact with caller ID and "SPAM Blockers" it should be open season.
            Technically I should be able to broadcast on any frequency, and FCC limitation of that could be considered blocking my free speech. Society accepts certain
  • by DumbWhiteGuy777 ( 654327 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:54PM (#11130601)
    This makes me wonder why the FCC has such power over TV. Not that I liked seeing Janet Jackson's breast or anything...
    • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:55PM (#11130610)
      Yeah ... I've never gotten excited over synthetic android breasts either.
    • If the Janet Jackson incident would have been on HBO, or some other cable channel, it wouldn't have been a problem. That would be the equivalent of Sirius or XM. However, it happened on a network station, one that is freely available to anyone with a TV and an antenna (much like FM radio)... that's why the FCC was able to penalize the station/Janet.
    • Because TV broadcasts over the "people's airwaves".
      Cable TV subscribers often forget that many people in the US don't have cable, and rely on over the air broadcasts.
      The FCC controls the process that TV stations follow to obtain a broascast license.
      The bigger question is how did the FCC evolve from a technical organization to a decency enforcer?
    • by Weeb ( 69841 )
      No, TV is not subscription too. The broadcast networks can be picked up by anyone with a brain and a half-functioning set -- including children.

      Premium cable services like Cinemax and HBO require considerable effort to procure, thus cursing and even softcore smut is permissable on these services. Just like satellite. If Satellite could be censored, you could say goodbye to The Sopranos' 2006 season, among many other shows with content and dialogue that might be "questionable." Hurrah for the FCC.

      This time
    • You don't pay a cent for broadcast TV or Radio. Apparently this guy's beef is that people that rent cars don't pay for the service, much like people that get broadcast radio. Problem is, he's using circular logic. The people renting the vehicles ARE paying for the service in the car by way of the rental of the same. They didn't subscribe themselves, but the rental agency DID.
      • This guy's beef is that he bought 3 radio stations and now (after 10 years) satellite radio is starting to affect his aging business model.

        He's complaining about something that hasn't even happened. I recently got Sirius (so I'll be ready to hear Howard Stern in a year ;). So far all I've heard is music. No cursing, no obscenity, no COMMERCIALS. That last one is the key.

        People won't pay for a service they don't like. The government doesn't need to control "decency" on Sat radio because if people don'
    • Well, keep in mind many people, especially in rural areas, still use antenneas to recieve their broadcasting - it sure isn't the best quality, but it's still open broadcasting nonetheless.
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:55PM (#11130611)
    The FCC rules that FCC rules do not apply to things outside of the FCC's domain.


    I can't decide whether I find it comforting these kinds of rulings keep showing up so often or worrisome these kinds of rulings are even being CONSIDERED.
    • Well ... if there's one thing the private sector has finally figured out is that it can subve^H^H^H^H^Hinfluence government in ways that would have never been considered in previous eras. Rather than operate within the law and make a profit, adapting to changing market conditions when necessary, the modern approach is simply to have the law changed to prevent changing market conditions. That's what I find disturbing. At least here the FCC rejected a blatant attempt by a private organization to encourage th
    • I think that the only purpose of this ruling is so that they can tell people who are doing all they can to make television shows "clean and safe for children" to fuck the hell off because we have no right to control it. As for my own children, I would much rather them watching porn than some shows with violence, lies, greed, and just plain being nasty, for no reason at all. (I know that most of this is necessary for the plot, but sometimes it is just too much.)

      One of the fow movies that actually made me f
  • kind of funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anti11es ( 167289 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:56PM (#11130615)
    Kind of funny (and rather sad) how instead of fighting the censorship they would rather just have everybody under the same censorship...yey everybody loses.
  • by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:56PM (#11130620) Homepage
    In a letter to the FCC, Levine complained that the commission needed to create a "level playing field" in protecting the public interest.

    Yes! Once the playing field is leveled, to the ground, charred, smoking, apocalyptic, barren of expression... the public interest will have been protected.
    • That is what happens with the FCC today. It is used -by- the people who it was originally created to defend -against-.

      The FCC wasn't set up to protect the interests of the media outlets. It was setup to protect everyone ELSE who might have interest in the use of broadcast spectrum.

      Historically this meant being sure that no media outlet became a monopoly, and therefore smaller outlets would rail (rightly at the time) against the larger ones.

      Now that the larger ones begin to feel threatened by a new techn
  • DUH (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 )
    It's like Cable TV. They don't have to adhere to the same standards as traditional broadcast stations. On comedy central they use language like "Pussy" and "Dick" sometimes, you're not likely to hear that on CBS any time soon.

    • Re:DUH (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dougmc ( 70836 ) <> on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:18PM (#11130747) Homepage
      It's like Cable TV.
      Well, a better analogy would be satellite TV. In fact, satellite TV would be just about a perfect analogy, in a world of flawed analogies. Cable TV doesn't involve radio waves broadcast through the air (it involves radio waves channeled through a cable.) The FCC regulates radio waves broadcast, so in theory they could go after satellite TV if they wanted to. But cable TV ought to be outside of their domain.

      Had the FCC actually decided that satellite radio had to be `decent', then this would not only put a stop to bad language on Comedy Central, but also to PPV porn on Direct TV or Dish Network, for example. Of course, it doesn't have to be just porn -- any show with nudity would be prohibited.

      (It's odd how violence is ok, but the slightest view of a nipple and people go nuts.)

      In any event, it's refreshing to see the FCC make a good decision once in a while.

  • by NCraig ( 773500 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:58PM (#11130631)
    What's next, NBC complaining about HBO? Too bad for Saul Levine that he didn't have Clear Channel on his side. I wonder if that would have given his claim any more weight.
  • by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:03PM (#11130663) Journal
    The basic summary of the decision is that because you pay for the service you are inviting the information in (ahhh, reminds me of "Lost Boys" :) and therefore anything "indecent" is your fault.

    I think the whole state of affairs is flawed.

    1) If I am a well-off under-18 I likely have access to some form of credit account (even if it is just my debit card attached to my allowance). I can subscribe to one of these services much easier than I can to a satellite TV service because I don't need to deal with an installer.

    Is it likely? No, and even then most parents aren't going to care as much. Doesn't change the lack of validity in the presumption.

    Plus it doesn't stop me from listening to the music / talk / whatever being played by my friends and simply put satellite radio is a lot more portable than the Playboy channel.

    2) I can get access to whatever content I want on the Internet ... and by going to a library can do so for free. I can turn on the radio or TV today and still see stuff that is considered indecent by many yet not by me. By equating subscriptions with privacy, we are forced into a culture where to get information we want we have to pay for it. It is the "new" thing today but it will likely be standard tomorrow.

    3) It should be up to the adult or a parent and no one else what is indecent. I personally would MUCH rather have a teenage boy listening to Howard Stern enact boyish fantasies than to have that same teenage boy listening to a radical fundamentalist preacher telling him his thoughts are evil (and I know that the reverse is true for many). I may not consider the preacher indecent (though it gets close sometimes), but that just highlights the point AFAIK.

    Point is ... we shouldn't have to pay to get freedom of expression and we shouldn't have to be subject to what someone -else- considers decent/indecent.
    • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:24PM (#11130787) Journal
      This policy is what is known as a "compromise". Its purpose is not to make you personally 100% happy, nor is it designed to be fully resistant to any labored scenario, analogy or metaphor you might dream up. It's balancing the concerns of 300 million people, and seems to me to be a reasonable job of doing so.
  • "The commission is saying it's fine to have obscenity any time of the day or night on satellite radio even though satellite radio is being made available to people without subscriptions," such as in rental cars that come with free service, Levine said in a telephone interview."
    Oh come on. Rental car customers are such a small sample they shouldn't even be considered. Besides, what a company decides to give away to their customers shouldn't make the difference between government censorship of it or not.
    • More to the point, those drivers are not "people without subscriptions". They're renting a car from a company who has arranged for their use of a subscription service on their behalf.

      In the same way, HBO is currently broadcast to millions of hotel guests who aren't directly subscribing to HBO, but who have access to that service due to arrangements that the hotel has made for them.

      I guess that when you're getting desperate, every crackpot theory seems pretty reasonable.

  • Indecency? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Handbrewer ( 817519 )
    Isent indecency regulations unconstitutional? It sounds alot like censorship to me, something that is constitutionally banned in Denmark.
    We may not censor anything for whatever reason, i though America had similar laws.
    But now that i think of it, i remember all the "bleeps" in imported shows from America, i think indencency laws are oretty dumb, because who has the right to determine what is decent and what is not?
    • This is the United States, land of the fee and home of the censored.
    • you've hit the nail on the head; that is the argument exactly. problem is, the people in power don't feel a need to change anything, because their idea of decency works for them and their constituents, free speech of whatever minorities be damned...
    • Re:Indecency? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by t_allardyce ( 48447 )
      Sounds like censorship? It is censorship. And not only is it unconstitutional, its also totally pointless because a technological solution exists that would make both sides happy. I think its probably the case that the pro-censorship side not only wants censorship for themselves, but also wants to force it on everyone else because "no-one should be allowed to watch that filth" - sounds like facism? yep it is.
    • i though America had similar laws.

      Well, it's true that we have a somewhat old, quaint document called a constitution, but the real beauty of it is that we can ignore it whenever the hell we please (particularly the first 10 amendments).

      The Christian Bible works much the same way. Apparently there's a Republican version of it in which Jesus roams the countryside railing against homosexuals and defending the rich against the poor, but I haven't been able to find it in any bookstores yet.

  • by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:08PM (#11130700)
    That guy that complained needs to be taken out an beaten. Rental cars? Please... if the customers of rental cars don't like the service so much, and find it so obscene, then they don't rent from that rental company any more.

    Listening to Satellite radio is a CHOICE. You can't "accidentally" listen to it. You have to actively and willfully make an attempt to listen to it, and thus the FCC has absolutely NO grounds to censor it.

    That guy is just a chump and can't compete in the market place, so he wants big brother to step in and fight his battles for him. People like that need to be removed from the gene pool.

    I'm so SICK AND TIRED of being told what I can and can't watch/hear by other people. I wish there was someplace left on this earth I could go start my own nation. /sigh
    • I don't think this guy is the problem, the FCC is there like it or not to regulate things, which is fair enough as long as they don't do stupid things. Unfortunately the FCC is staffed by total incompetent jack-offs who sit around all day smoking crack and fundamentalist Christians who are so offended by someone so much as saying crap that they would ultimately like the death penalty for swearing. Now you could say its damn lucky that these people were carefully 'put' out of harms way from any real governme
    • People like that need to be removed from the gene pool.

      Unfortunately, this won't help. Rather, memes like this need to be removed from the meme pool. I think that memes are hardere to kill than people, as it would require some sort of control over communication, or advertizements. Does anyone know how to kill a meme?
    • I'm so SICK AND TIRED of being told what I can and can't watch/hear by other people. I wish there was someplace left on this earth I could go start my own nation. /sigh

      Uh, no need to start your own country. Just go to a country other than the US. When I was in Venezuela I saw the same show I had seen in the US (which was produced in the US) but it hadn't been edited and blurred to remove potentially arousing body parts (and boy, did I suffer some severe psychological damage from being exposed to those n

    • I'm so SICK AND TIRED of being told what I can and can't watch/hear by other people. I wish there was someplace left on this earth I could go start my own nation. /sigh

      Thank you. I am a fundamentalist Christian (Baptist) Libertarian (who sometimes agrees with the Republicans). I have always held that people have a choice. Heck, it even says so in the Bible. GOD gave us choice for a reason.

      Regardless, my beliefs are no excuse for me to forcibly impose my beliefs on others. I think that government s

  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:23PM (#11130782) about laying off cable TV? I've never understood why the Comedy Channel has to edit their damn movies. They're not broadcast transmissions. You have to pay to get them, you can't stick a coathanger antenna out your window and receive them - so what's the problem?

    • Sponsors (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:36PM (#11130862)
      Comedy central does not get all of its money from cable subscribers (like HBO does), so it must get sponsorship. That means it must have shows that sponsors are willing to pay for. Since sponsors tend to get a bit gunshy around swearing and nudity, most cable stations have to avoid it.

      Unfortunately, sponsor censorship is just a fact of life. If you want to pay for all of your own programming, subscribe to HBO (it's well worth it, IMHO), and get all the sex and swearing you can handle. If you want Proctor & Gamble to pay for your programming, you have to let them dictate what will not be part of it.

      • That makes perfect sense - thanks. I didn't know that when you buy advertising time you get to know beforehand exactly what will be in the show.

        It's too bad they can't simply say "we're selling advertising time between 8pm and 9pm", but oh well - that's how the system is set up.

        • Well, you don't really know EXACTLY what's going on. However, ads are usually sold for shows. So instead of selling advertising time between 8pm and 9pm, they sell advertising for "Friends" which is on between 8pm and 9pm. The more popular shows invite more ads while the less popular ones, i.e. the ones users don't watch as much and therefore don't see the commercials on end up being less in demand. That's what the operators use to determine which shows to keep on and which to axe.

          So if Comedy Central has
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ever watch it after 10pm? they've been airing movies uncut for a while now. one example being South Park.

      as said above somewhere, it's the advertisers that are controlling the content on cable.
    • It's not so much FCC, near as I can tell, more response to customers. This, despite the fact of double standards - they bleeped out the bleepables during the Friars' Club inductory roast of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Go fig.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:27PM (#11130805)
    I am completely broke so I certainly will not be buying a satellite dish for a long, long time, but recently I became curious about pornographic satellite TV in the US and Europe for some reason. I don't recall what sparked it, but I think I wanted to know if European pornography channels reached the US. I'll explain what I learned, although take this all with a grain of salt and double-check it.

    There are two major types of satellite in the US. One is TVRO, or "BUD" which uses a large dish and receives mostly on the C band (although I believe it can do ku band) - it uses fairly open standards. The other is DBS (Direct Broadcast System) which uses a mini-dish and receives I believe exclusively on the Ku band - it uses very closed standards. Originally TVRO was more popular, but DBS has become more popular over the years. DirecTV, Echostar's DISH network and a new service called Voom are three American DBS companies.

    Looking at broadcast maps, it occurred to me that signals seem to be confined to a continent. European porn channels are mostly confined to Europe, American porn channels are mostly confined to North America. I didn't see any satellite that spanned the Atlantic with its signal. Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah or Tennessee and the City of Cincinatti, Ohio have laws against the content of American porn satellite channels, so satellite companies won't sell to subscribers there (or will limit what they can get). Southern states legislatures probably have an effect on the rest of the country, European satellite TV can show a lot of content that American TV can not. But the adult content Americans can get from Europe is limited, if any, at least from what I could see - correct me if I'm wrong.

    Anyhow, I'll look up some specifics about the various channels (like TEN, Playboy etc.) and post it as a reply to this message a little later.

    • A couple of the DirecTV pr0n channels- The Hot Network and Spice Platinum- show a lot of EU porn.
    • Actually, I think (at least for U.S. customers), it's more of a supply and demand issue.

      I think different countries tend to make their porn "fit their tastes". EG. I've seen some things commonly found in German porn that most U.S. viewers would label more along the lines of "bizarre" or even "a little disturbing", rather than "erotic/sexy".

      When you couple that with people's "girl next door" fantasies and the like, it just makes sense that Americans would tend to prefer watching porn featuring other Ameri
  • just like TV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fractilian ( 704807 )
    Its just like HBO on TV. You are payine for it so if you dont want "nauty content" don't buy it.
  • Pablum... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:36PM (#11130859) Homepage
    A tasteless form of hot ceral. Also, used to refer to anything without form or substance that is foisted upon people.

    Childproofing is the task of running around your house to make it "safe" for an unmonitored child so they can't start fires, can get at poisons (which they will eat) and can break things.

    This is what you get when people utterly refuse to raise their children. Parents today want the schools to do it for them. And, want the government to help. And anybody else they can get - as long as they are left out of the process. So, we end up with a society that has been "childproofed". That is really what we are talking about here, isn't it?

    The side effect of this is until our society is completely childproofed, we have abberations where children are incompletely raised. The result of this is rampent welfare ("The government OWES me, man!"), theft ("I want, I want NOW!") and vandalism. So, shops put in expensive theft-prevention equipment and police end up dealing with 20-year-old children that never grew up.

    How many older or adult children killed their parents this year? How many killed their parents before 1960? How about adjusting this as a percentage of the population and seeing if there is any growth? This is a sure sign of parental abdication.
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:41PM (#11130889) Journal
    What a load of bullshit, this reminds me of the senator who after seeing the video of a marine shooting an injured insurgent in a mosque was outraged and said that embedded news teams should be banned! This is totally ridiculous - OF COURSE the playing field should be levelled, otherwise what is the fucking point of the FCC? The field should however (and this to me is like explaining that the earth goes around the sun) be levelled on the totally opposite direction - get rid of the bloody censorship altogether! WTF are these people smoking?

    Now could someone please explain why a V-Chip like system (that either blocks out the audio/video when it gets the signal OR unblocks a scrambled audio/video when it gets the signal) has not been standardised to solve this stupid problem? All the FCC needs to do is find out how many people oppose censorship vs how many are in favour and then decide which system to use and therefore who has to buy new radios/tvs or adaptors if they want to take advantage of it, it really is that simple. Or just do what the rest of the world does and not get so anal about hearing people swear.
  • by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:45PM (#11130903)
    I'm glad that the FCC won't be trying to extend their influence, but what is the basis of their decision?

    Is it mainly technology (satellite vs. land-based), or is it that one is pay-based, and the other is free? This is important.

    If it turns out that pay-based is the criterion, then would we start to see some land-based broadcasting systems encrypting their signals and then charging a subscription fee, in order to skirt FCC rules? Or would we start to see the FCC clamp down on any free satellite-based broadcasting companies?

    If it's technology-based, what's to stop the FCC (other than Congress) from saying later on, "You know what? We got the satellite stuff too. STFU Howard Stern."

  • Perfectly sensible (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nsayer ( 86181 ) < minus language> on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:58PM (#11131008) Homepage
    The big difference between terrestrial broadcasting and satellite radio is that the latter is not, in fact, "broadcasting." You have to pay to receive it. All of the arguments that have been posted have not taken this into account. Because it involves a contract, no minor can sign up for service on their own, so the whole idea of empowering parents to shield their children from naughty concepts, should they choose to, remains intact. And both services will, if you request it, block any channels you wish from your receiver.

    A child can buy an AM/FM radio - there is no contract involved. That is the fundamental difference.

    That is also true of TVs, but they're significantly more expensive, making it much more likely a parent would know if his child had a personal TV set.

    TVs now must, because of type acceptance rules, have ratings enforcement mechanisms (the so-called "V" chip). The reason that the rules have not been loosened significantly is that those rules do not apply universally - TVs smaller than a certain size are exempt. If we *knew* that every TV had a parental control mechanism, then TV-MA programming *should* have no decency rules at all.

    The first ammendment does not allow content based censorship unless it is the least intrusive means available to achieve the end of allowing parents to keep offensive programming away from their children. We are rapidly approaching the time when it won't be anymore. I'm looking forward to it.

    And by the way, before anyone brings up Cable / Satellite TV channels... I believe that they actually do *not* have to abide by the same decency standards. I believe they do voluntarily (except for the premium tiers, of course, like HBO, Showtime, etc).
  • The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and several subscriptions.
  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @02:07PM (#11131096) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the top post:

    Chalk up a win for continued freedom on subscription services.

    Our freedoms shouldn't be contingent on an ability to pay...
  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @02:16PM (#11131168) Journal
    Here is the source of the problem: idiots.

    On both sides.

    On one side are those who would just make every other word in a script a four letter one. South Park did a great parody of this in their "shit" episode. It started as one network show saying the word "shit" once, to an episode of Drew Carrey where people just yammered "Shit shit shitty shitter shit shit..."

    And on the other side there's the people whose heads explode if someone uses the word "hell" even in an academic context, or the letters c, o, n, d, o and m are used in close proximity to one another.

    So you have to find some balance. It seemed like we had it for a long time. I'm not entirely sure what happened to make it all start resonating.

    You don't don't want to censor to the point where only two year olds are served by the airwaves, and you don't want zero restraint that allows the airwaves to degrade into a river of shit. Neither state serves the public interest. Both cases are catering to a lowest common denominator, albeit different types- idiots who are idiots because they are 2 years old, or idiots who are idiots because they are dumbfuck asshats.

    The solution is to kill more people.

  • And on Internet radio last night (over my Treo, driving in my car, listening to the world @56Kbps), a DJ was rocking the mic with tales of his own recent sex-for-hire adventures. Stitching together the 70s funk and 80s protohiphop as Nasty As He Wanna Be. He doesn't even have to show up in a broadcast office, or put on pants. When the source is distributed, the host is anywhere, the transmitter is anywhere else (maybe distributed in a DNS roundrobin pool) and the listeners are global, the FCC can "Go Fuck I
  • This looks more like a "wedge strategy" by the Republican FCC to further their media consolidation to their base, just enough Americans to at least appear to win elections. With this stroke, they send Howard Stern and other "controversial" programmers into a better market, with their approval. Leaving behind the majority of Americans, in a different publishing technlogy controlled by a few corporations like ClearChannel, which are completely connected to the Republican Party and its pet projects, like promo
  • As of five minutes ago, Demonoid was returning this for all http requests:

    "Server shutdown in progress".

    So they might be puking under the weight of thousands of new users an hour no longer able to access SuprNova et al... Too bad there was no warning, this could've been an (almost) smooth transition. Oh well, score one for the lawyers.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @04:27PM (#11132034) Homepage
    So basically in the US you have to pay extra to get the right to free speech.

  • by technoCon ( 18339 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @04:57PM (#11132229) Homepage Journal
    The FCC says the broadcast bands are a common good owned by the public and vulgarities ought not corrupt it. The FCC says so, provided the antenna emitting those photons is located on the ground and those photons' frequency is HF or UHF.

    But that's not true if the antenna is located in the heavens and the photons are in microwave bands. In such case, those considerations of a public good and civil discourse go to hell.

    Sure, it all makes perfect sense.

    If American culture is coarse and vulgar then broadcasts to the American public should reflect this on both terrestrial and satellite broadcasts. The FCC should be consistent, applying one standard to the AM & FM and satellite bands.

    If the resultant content is coarse and vulgar, that reflects the marketplace's demand for corruption. Don't like it? Improve yourself and those around you. Not enough? It tells you you're failing at the job of being salt and light.
  • The FCC will leave satellite radio along until Howard Stern creates a big splash by broadcasting on Sirius. Then, we're going to see the same sort of religious-right-backsplash we've seen all along, and the FCC will respond. They seem to have it in for that dude, especially after he stopped supporting Bush. This is going to continue until the entire media is one big Sinclair/Clear Channel/Republican ghetto. I accidentally surfed the AM band recently in Chicago, and couldn't believe what I found. Three 50

Loose bits sink chips.