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CMNS 230 (8)

W4 Reading Notes Havens and Lotz.docx

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CMNS 230
David Newman

WEEK 4 Regulation of the Media Industries Havens & Lotz, p. 65–94 6 • Paramount Decree: outcome of United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., a 5 1948 anti-trust case decided by the Supreme Court. It ended the vertical integration of the film industry by forcing the “Big Eight” film studios to divest themselves of the theatres they owned; example of how regulation affects media industries 6 • Regulation: laws, guideline, and policies that govern how media industries 6 produce, distribute, and exhibit their products; • the creation of laws and rules governing the operation of media industries and the enforcement of those laws often requires regulatory bodies • can be national and international 6 1. Who regulates? 7 2. What is regulated? 3. How do regulations have consequences on the products media industries create? • State/government is most common regulator, sets up a particular body to manage certain media or enact policy initiatives • Two types of formal regulation: content regulations and industry structure regulations (also technological regulations, regulations governing access) 6 • Media industries may not face substantial formal regulations, they are still 8 regulated by assumption/perceptions about the nature of their products (what audiences and advertisers want, what might succeed) WHY IS BROADCASTING DIFFERENT? • Broadcasting is the most heavily regulated form of media in most countries and the most likely form of media to operate outside of a commercial mandate • Extra regulation results from using radio waves of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit the signal, which is a naturally occurring resource and thus belongs to the public; rules needed to decide who can transmit where so anyone can receive the benefits of using it 7 • Federal Radio Commission (FRC) precursor of Federal Communications 0 Commission (FCC), an agency of the U.S. government charged with enforcing the regulatory provisions that govern many media industries, particularly broadcast and cable television, telephony, and some aspects of the internet; • FRC licensed broadcasters to use airwaves situated on a specific part of the spectrum to prevent interference • FCC allows station to use airwaves if it operates in public interest, convenience, and necessity • The station borrows the spectrum frequency from the public in exchange for a service that benefits it 7 • some parts of the spectrum have been sold off to wireless communication 1 providers and satellite companies, they do not have to serve the public • FCC gains its regulatory power by managing licence, they only directly regulate stations, not networks 7 WHO REGULATES? 2 • FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) carry out policies enacted by legislative and executive branches, are able to make rules and selectively enforce them • Lobbyists that represent telecommunications industries are the biggest influence on policy, use funds to lobby FCC and legislature to make sure new policies help their businesses, testify before Congress 7 • Voters and consumers of media products play a role: public comment, non- 3 profit organizations represent interests of average citizens and make sure public is informed about policy changes, FCC only acts on content question when it receives complaints from citizens 7 • Trans-national regulatory organizations are needed because media circulate 4 across national borders • Informal self-regulation: responsible for media content we are familiar with being produced, leads industry workers to perceive certain types of content as more or less commercially viable • Formal self-regulation: creation of self-imposed rules limiting or categorizing content (e.g. film ratings by MPAA), often defensive move against more stringent legislative regulation 7 WHAT IS REGULATED? 6 Content Regulations • Social panics about media content and their social and psychological effects have existed since the beginnings of the media, especially concerns about effects of sexual and violent content on children • Regulators can impose more formal regulations on broadcast content, other industries use formal and informal self-regulation • Content regulations is difficult in the U.S. because the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech • Prior restraint (preventing content from circulating) is possible for obscene (appeal to interest in sex, portray sexual conduct in an offensive way, no serious literary, artistic, political, scientific value) and indecent (describes or depicts sexual or excretory activities or organs in offensive way) language; indecent language is acceptable during safe harbor hours (10pm-6am) 7 • Commercial media produce content as inoffensive to as many as possible to 7 avoid loosing audiences and advertisers • Content standards have loosened due to a change in business 7 Copyright 8 • Affects operation of media industries and behavior of consumers • Copyright ensures ongoing economic value of products, protects creators
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