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FCC Wants Appeals Court to Toss Disney Request on Kids Rules

Oct 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission late Tuesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to throw out a request by The Walt Disney Co. seeking a stay of the agency’s new children’s TV rules or an order forcing the agency to act by Nov. 15 on a series of long-pending industry petitions urging the agency to dramatically ease the regulations. The agency released details Wednesday on its request to the court.

Without a stay, the new FCC rules go into effect Jan. 1, 2006, and Disney and other major TV networks are concerned that the regulations will unduly restrict their ability to attract children to their Web sites, where FCC regulations-including those prohibiting selling or pitching by children’s TV program hosts-don’t apply.

Disney and other networks are also concerned that restructuring their operations to comply with the new regulations will cause them unnecessary expense if the agency or the court changes the rules after they go into effect. But in its filing with the court, the FCC defended its new regulations and argued that Disney had not presented adequate justification for a court order.

The FCC noted that 16 petitions challenging its new children’s video rules have been pending at the agency since Feb. 2.

“In view of the number and variety of complicated issues presented by the reconsideration petitions, it is surely reasonable for the commission to take more than a few months to produce an order that resolves all of these difficult issues,” the FCC said.

“There is also nothing unreasonable about FCC rules taking effect while reconsideration petitions remain pending,” the FCC added.