Kelley Drye Telecommunications paralegal Jennifer Rodden contributed to this post.

Earlier this year, a coalition of e-reader manufacturers (Amazon, Kobo and Sony Electronics) petitioned for waiver from the disabled access requirements applicable to Advanced Communications Services (“ACS”) under the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (“CVAA”). The Coalition seeks a class waiver

As of October 8, 2013, all advanced communication products and services offered in interstate commerce must be compliant (including products and services previously offered) with the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s”) disabled access requirements, and consumers can begin filing complaints with the FCC as of that date. Covered entities should ensure that the internal contact identified on their FCC registration is prepared to address any Requests for Dispute Assistance once the government shutdown is resolved and the FCC is back to work.


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On August 1, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or "Commission") released a Public Notice seeking comment by September 3, 2013 on a petition for waiver from the disabled access requirements filed by a coalition of e-reader manufacturers (Amazon, Kobo and Sony Electronics). In late 2011, the FCC released a Report and Order implementing provisions

Federal law prohibits the circumvention of technological measures used by or on behalf of copyright owners to protect their works. In the context of mobile handsets, although users previously enjoyed a limited exemption from this prohibition, a new ruling means that users no longer can use self-help to unlock their mobile phone and move it to an alternative network.

Periodically, through a rulemaking process, the Copyright Office (the “Agency”) takes comments and evaluates whether the prohibition on circumvention measures adversely impacts the ability to use the works in a non-infringing manner. Recommendations are made by the Agency to the Librarian of Congress, who then establishes exemptions to the access control circumvention prohibition by rule. This time around, the rule did not continue the exemption for unlocking mobile devices.

So what happened?


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One of the central issues in any spectrum sharing environment is the ability to enforce compliance with the regulations governing operation of the devices in the band, particularly the operation of secondary devices sharing spectrum on a non-interference basis with primary services. This is equally the case when new categories of unlicensed users gain access to share a band with incumbent operators. Currently, the exploration of what spectrum bands the federal government may be able to make available for access by private sector broadband providers and users, whether as a result of spectrum sharing or band clearing, has assumed center stage among policy makers. Last week’s meeting of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) underscored the importance of rule enforcement when maximizing access to spectrum and the need for trust and confidence among users in a spectrum sharing environment.

At the end of September, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took several coordinated steps to enhance the better operation of a spectrum sharing framework adopted several years ago. Terminal Doppler Weather Radars (TDWRs) maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operate at airports in the 5600-5650 MHz band to obtain a variety of data used in real time by aviation operations, such as gust fronts, wind shear, and microbursts. The band is also used by wireless ISPs operating IEEE-802.11a devices on an unlicensed, non-interference basis as part of the Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) framework.

On September 27, the Commission issued an enforcement advisory (Advisory) directed to not just wireless ISPs operating U-NII equipment in the 5600-5650 MHz band, but to manufacturers, retailers, and marketers of U-NII devices. The multi-faceted target audience serves as a reminder that FCC enforcement actions to preserve the viability of sharing frameworks, especially when they involve unlicensed operations, will not be limited to the persons or entities operating the radio devices.


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