ESPN, Sports Leagues, Theater Owners Take FCC To Court Over 'White Spaces'
Spectrum is home to the wireless microphones used extensively by sports and theater producers
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/3/2009 5:29:43 PM
As expected, ESPN, the major pro sports leagues, and on and off-Broadway theater owners and producers have also taken the FCC to court over its decision to allow unlicensed devices to use the so-called "white spaces" between DTV channels.
That spectrum is also home to the wireless microphones used extensively by sports and theater producers, who, like
broadcasters, worry that the new devices will interfere with their games and plays.
According to a copy of the petition to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, the groups argue that the
commission exceeded its authority, and that its order permitting their use was "arbitrary, capricious," an "abuse of
discretion," unsupported by substantial evidence or otherwise contrary to law."
They want the court to vacate the decision as unlawful.
The National Association of Broadcasters and the Association for Multiple Service Television filed a similar suit in the D.C. Circuit.
The FCC will initially allow hybrid devices that use both geo-location and spectrum sensing, but will put numerous conditions on approval of devices that rely only on sensing technologies, including power limits, requiring extensive testing, a certification process, public comment on that process, and a separate FCC decision to approve proposed devices.
Among those petitioning the court were the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, NCAA, and News Corp.
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