Posts filed under ‘FCC’

Guilds call for product placements code of conduct

The Writers Guilds and Screen Actors Guild of America are calling for a “Code of Conduct” for film and television product placements. Their proposal would require “both the visual and aural disclosure of product integration deals at the beginning of each program so the program’s audience knows ahead of time that it will be subject to hidden or stealth advertising.” Product placement advertising occurs when marketers pay film and television producers to include products in movies and tv programs, often with little notice to consumers that the products are being pitched.
In a recent article in Mediaweek, Pitney Hardin lawyer Barry Benjamin questions the current product placement practice:

In light of this growing trend, many consumers would perhaps be surprised to learn that Federal law mandates disclosure of the fact that sponsors have paid to have their products included within programming. FCC rules do not spell out exactly how these disclosures should be made, and most television shows satisfy their legal disclosure obligations merely by including a credit to the effect that “promotional considerations were provided by ABC company.” It is debatable whether this type of disclosure satisfies the law.

The Guilds’ call for a code of conduct follows calls by consumer groups and Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein for further investigation of this issue by the FCC.

See Barry M. Benjamin, The Call for a Code of Conduct, Mediaweek (Dec. 19, 2005).


December 27, 2005 at 7:00 am 3 comments

FCC official shocked at the sight of bare shoulders

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has ruled that the Monday Night Football intro skit that showed “Desperate Housewives” star Nicollette Sheridan “disrobing” was not indecent. In a 5-0 ruling, the Commission dismissed the complaints against ABC, the network that broadcasts Monday Night Football. Sheridan did not appear nude in the skit, but instead was seen unwrapping a towel from behind which was later thrown to Eagles wideout Terrell Owens while Sheridan was offscreen. Commissioner Michael Copps, however, criticized the network for having the gall to show a women’s bare shoulders at the early hour of 9 p.m., when responsible parents certainly have their children in front of the television.

March 14, 2005 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Chairman Powell saves Private Ryan

As a follow-up on this previous post on the complaint lodged with the FCC about the “indecent” Saving Private Ryan, it’s official. The FCC has ruled that the movie is not indecent. I guess that means its decent. In fact, Chairman Powell said the film was instead “gritty.” A similar complaint against NBC’s Will & Grace was also rejected… but I’ll spare you from Powell’s description of that “happy” sitcom (“not that there’s anything wrong with that”).

March 2, 2005 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Just when you thought it was safe to say @$&!%!

Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that could raise fines for broadcasts of indecent material to as much as $500,000. The current maximum fine is $32,500, but the Senate has already approved a new maximum of $325,000 with a $3 million cap for continuing violations. The House bill would also require that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) consider revoking a television or radio stations license after three violations. Ironically, the FCC has recently given indications that its policing of indecency violations may be returning to a reasonable level as discussed in this post here. However, if Congress has anything to say about this trend, the Commission will be right back to its over zealous ways. Watch out, Dr. Phil, you’re next!

February 10, 2005 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

The FCC: The Agency that Fined Me?

Reuters reports that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) will rule that the motion picture “Saving Private Ryan” is not indecent. The FCC had received several complaints about networks airing the film since the film contains violence and adult language. On Monday, the FCC also rejected complaints lodged against the “Simpsons,” “Friends,” and broadcasts of the film “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” Under federal law, the FCC can regulate what is distributed over broadcast television and the Commission has been increasingly active in regulating content since Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show during last year’s Super Bowl. This latest batch of rulings may be a sign that the Commission will ease up on policing morality now that the agency will be under new leadership.

February 9, 2005 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment


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