Regulation Watch


New face Joins Copps' team

Alexis John has joined the staff of FCC Commissioner Copps to assist with media and consumer-protection issues. She had been serving in the Wireline Competition Bureau. She has been at the FCC since 1996, when she was hired as an attorney in the Cable Services Bureau. She also has served in the Mass Media and Enforcement Bureaus.

Bush names Powell Corporate Cop

In the wake of the WorldCom scandal, President Bush has asked FCC Chairman Michael Powell to join the new interagency Corporate Fraud Task Force. "There is a severe capital crisis putting a tremendous strain on the telecommunications industry," Powell said in accepting the appointment. "It is imperative to do everything possible to restore investor confidence in this critical sector of the American economy. The commission stands ready to offer its expertise to assist in the effort to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes."

Don't go there

On July 5, the FCC dismissed a series of complaints by the Litigation Recovery Trust, which has been fighting at the agency and in court for a financial settlement over Lockheed Martin's purchase of Comsat. LRT accused Comsat of violating indecency laws by offering adult movies over its in-hotel movie system. LRT's petitions lay dormant at the FCC for years before the group late last month urged the FCC to revive the matter. The commission did and promptly said go away. As for its rationale, the FCC said it took "very seriously" Lockheed/Comsat claims that LRT was abusing the commission's complaint procedures to "harass" the merged company.

Echostar wins again

EchoStar won another intellectual-property decision when a court in North Carolina said the Littleton, Colo.-based company was not guilty of infringing the patents on electronic program guides developed by Gemstar and SuperGuide. A federal district court found that none of EchoStar's products infringe any of three patents developed by Gemstar and SuperGuide. Last month, Gemstar also was unsuccessful in a separate but similar complaint against EchoStar, Scientific-Atlanta, Pioneer and SCI Systems.


The July 8 edition incorrectly reported that George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" routine was prompted by a 1978 FCC decision banning specific words from the airwaves. In fact, it was a broadcast of Carlin's routine that prompted the FCC ruling.