PIRATE Act passed out of Committee.

Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act by voice vote. The bill would increase fines for unlicensed radio stations from $10,000 per violation to $100,000 per day per violation with a maximum of $2 million. It will now be considered by the full House, and a corresponding measure will be taken up in the Senate.

1 comment for “PIRATE Act passed out of Committee.

  1. July 17, 2018 at 3:16 am

    We’re in full agreement that illegal, pirate radio needs to be dealt with but there are flaws with the PIRATE Act in addition to the FCC ignoring current laws on the books that would lessen the perpetuation of pirate radio activity.

    First off, HR 5709 makes no distinction between blatant pirate operators pushing tens or hundreds of watts (most often on FM) from radio enthusiasts and school campus signals operating with FCC certified Part 15 AM transmitters who might have inadvertently strayed from those regulations. Those striving to operate under Part 15 wouldn’t spend upwards of $1000 for a certified transmitter if they didn’t intend to comply within the applicable regulations, yet this legislation groups the latter in the same category as the blatant and intentional lawbreakers!

    The second problem stems from the very fact that nothing’s being done to prevent the illegal import of cheap, poorly constructed FM transmitters, often sold on various online venues. 47 CFR Section 302a(b) makes the import and sale of these devices illegal yet this regulation remains unenforced. Remove the source of these illegal, non-compliant splatter-boxes and watch the incidents of pirate activity diminish.

    As a broadcast engineer of 4+ decades I’ve witnessed the problems caused by pirate operators such from EAS receiver interference. It’s necessary for the interference caused by those rogue operators to be dealt with, but campus and hobby operators making a good faith attempt to comply with Part 15 regulations should not be punished to the same degree.

    Bill DeFelice
    Webmaster
    CampusBroadcaster.net / HobbyBroadcaster.net

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