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house Bill H.R. 583

Should There be Steeper Penalties for Pirating Radio Broadcasts?

Argument in favor

Steeper penalties for pirate radio operations will deter illegal radio broadcasts and prevent them from interfering with emergency services.

Ray's Opinion
···
02/25/2019
Yes, and while you are at it, all media should be punished for fake news that they spew out from time to time or all the time. To protect our democracy we need to manage the information and data that are being fed to us.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
···
02/25/2019
Steeper penalties for pirate radio operations will deter illegal radio broadcasts and prevent them from interfering with emergency services. SneakyPete......... 🙀👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🙀. 2*24*19..........
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Glowurm's Opinion
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02/25/2019
If they are racist, lying, propaganda, hateful, etc., then I say yes!
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Argument opposed

Laws like this could stifle competition and innovation from upstart radio stations and amateurs that may push the boundaries of legality.

Rebekah 's Opinion
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02/24/2019
What about free speech? Only SIX corporations control almost all media in the USA. And they are all controlled by Wall Street. Emergency channels can be separated without this draconian effort to limit the information we’re allowed. I say let the small, independent, single person stations alone. We’ll need them when fascism takes over completely.
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MikeDawg's Opinion
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02/24/2019
There is no reason to go after pirate radio stations.
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Tom's Opinion
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02/25/2019
Who lobbied for this one. I wonder? There not more pressing matters to legislate? Does sound like a serious monopolistic media lobbying effort. Hopefully legislators aren’t entirely paid off here.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Communications and Technology
    IntroducedJanuary 16th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 583?

This bill ― known as the PIRATE Act ― would set steep financial penalties for individuals found to be operators of unlicensed radio stations (aka “pirating”). It’d increase fines for illegal pirate operations to $100,000 per day per violation from $10,000 per violation, and establish a fine of up to $2 million for facilitating pirate radio broadcasting. It would also streamline the FCC’s enforcement process and empower state and local law enforcement in combating illegal pirate operations.

The bill’s full title is the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act.

Impact

Radio listeners; broadcasters -- both legitimate and pirate; and regulatory agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 583

A CBO estimate of this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to set forth protections from illegal radio operators's signals, which can pose a significant threat to public safety — oftentimes disrupting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations, the Emergency Alert System and other tools relied upon by first responders. Upon reintroducing this bill, Rep. Tonko said:

“Protecting our public airwaves is critical for preserving community safety, whether for first responders or for working parents who don’t want to expose their children to uncontrolled hate and obscenity. Whether a frequency is being used in emergencies to coordinate community response and save lives or by parents who just want to tune their car radios with their kids in the car, our communities are better served when broadcasting is governed by the rule of law."

Last Congress, Rep. Tonko was joined then then-Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) in introducing this bill.

Speaking at the start of the markup in the last Congress, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) commented that the PIRATE Act:

“Gives the FCC more tools to combat illegal pirate radio operations. These illegal broadcasts deprive Americans of their access to important emergency alerting information and their access to educational and other programming provided by legitimate license holders.”

The National Association of Broadcaster (NAB) supports this bill. Its Executive Vice President of Communication, Dennis Wharton, says:

“Unlicensed radio stations are not merely a nuisance to legitimate radio broadcasters who play by the rules. They also pose a threat to public safety by disrupting communications between air traffic controllers and airline pilots.”

FCC Chairman Michael O'Rielly expressed his support for this bill during the previous Congress, telling broadcasters at the 2018 Radio Show that this bill would not only give the FCC more resources, but also help ensure that there's no rollback under future administrations.

This bill has four bipartisan cosponsors, including two Democrats and two Republicans, in the 116th Congress. In the last Congress, it passed the House on a voice vote and with the support of 14 bipartisan cosponsors, including 8 Democrats and 6 Republicans. The bill is supported by the National Association for Broadcasters (NAB), New York State Broadcasters Association (NYSBA), the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Inc. (NABOB), and broadcast associations from all 50 states.


Media:

Summary by Countable Team

(Photo Credit: iStock / Bet_noire)

AKA

PIRATE Act

Official Title

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for enhanced penalties for pirate radio, and for other purposes.

    Yes, and while you are at it, all media should be punished for fake news that they spew out from time to time or all the time. To protect our democracy we need to manage the information and data that are being fed to us.
    Like (14)
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    What about free speech? Only SIX corporations control almost all media in the USA. And they are all controlled by Wall Street. Emergency channels can be separated without this draconian effort to limit the information we’re allowed. I say let the small, independent, single person stations alone. We’ll need them when fascism takes over completely.
    Like (56)
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    Share
    There is no reason to go after pirate radio stations.
    Like (32)
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    Who lobbied for this one. I wonder? There not more pressing matters to legislate? Does sound like a serious monopolistic media lobbying effort. Hopefully legislators aren’t entirely paid off here.
    Like (24)
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    I don’t believe the government should consider itself the owner of the radio waves.
    Like (16)
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    How about instead, we have much steeper penalties for large media conglomerates who buy up all the outlets in a market so they can control what people see and hear, towards undermining our democracy? Bring back the limits to such ownership and, while you are at it, the fairness doctrine?
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    There are so many more important things in this country to deal with - global change & Trump NOW allowing every dirty thing that used to be illegal, children who have been ripped from their parents. Good Grief.
    Like (13)
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    It appears that this law could easily abused in squashing 1st amendment rights.
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    Bigger things in the world to worry about. We have a freedom of speech. As long as the pirate radio stations are not harming anyone, inciting violence, or causing other problems, I don’t see the harm. Although it’s 2019, maybe those people should consider a podcast instead.
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    Stop worrying about minutae and start taking care of problems for real people- healthcare, affordable housing, affordable tuition, ending racism, equal pay for women and minorities, lgbtq rights- and you’re worried about someone pirating a radio show? Get your heads on straight!
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    To be clear, I do not support illegal activity, but increasing a fine ten-fold does not solve the real issue here. If air traffic and emergency services can be interrupted by an unlicensed radio broadcaster I see a major focus area for improvement in the systems being utilized. The $100,000 dollar penalty should only be enforced if the unlicensed radio broadcaster disrupted a legitimate broadcast or critical system. If not, let the air waves alone!
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    Free the airwaves! Pirate stations rarely interfere with other frequencies.
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    Most people nowadays don't care about radio anyways. Police can get away with murder but they want radio pirates to pay 100k per day? There are much more important things to be legislating than this, get your priorities straight
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    Steeper penalties for pirate radio operations will deter illegal radio broadcasts and prevent them from interfering with emergency services. SneakyPete......... 🙀👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🙀. 2*24*19..........
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    Flint needs water, Puerto Rico needs infrastructure
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    Less government overreach. We shouldn’t need the governments permission to send radio signals
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    Vote NO on HR 583. What there Must be is a updated version of the Fairness Doctrine news has to be valid and verifiable and factual. Commentary must be stated as such as opinion. Media ownership must not be a monopoly and be covered by antitrust regulations!🗽
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    I’m sorry, is this an actual problem, or is the Representative of New York just putting his name on a bill written by Clear Channel and iHeart Media?
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    I’m not sure why they’re calling the person a pirate. Is it because they would be streaming music they don’t own or this is one of those self fulfilling law.
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    If they are racist, lying, propaganda, hateful, etc., then I say yes!
    Like (3)
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