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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
File No. EB-04-SE-123
Gibson Tech Ed, Inc. )
NAL/Acct. No. 200532100013
d/b/a/ Hobbytron.com )
Orem, Utah )
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Adopted: August 25, 2006 Released: August 29, 2006
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order, we deny a petition for
reconsideration filed by Gibson Tech Ed Inc., d/b/a/ Hobbytron.com
("Gibson"), of a Forfeiture Order imposing a forfeiture of fourteen
thousand dollars ($14,000) for willful and repeated violation of
Section 302(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"),
and Section 2.803(a) of the Commission's Rules ("Rules"). The
violations involved Gibson's marketing of two models (R-FM25B-WT) and
(R-FM100B-WT) of unauthorized FM broadcast transmitters.
2. On June 30, 2004, the Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau") issued Gibson a
Citation for marketing unauthorized FM broadcast transmission
equipment manufactured by Veronica Ltd. ("Veronica"), in violation of
Section 302(b) of the Act and Section 2.803(a) of the Rules, and for
failing to respond to a letter of inquiry ("LOI").
3. In connection with the investigation of Gibson's sale of Veronica
equipment, Bureau staff observed that Gibson was also marketing FM
transmitters identified on Gibson's website as "Ramsey" equipment. The
Bureau subsequently investigated Gibson's marketing of Ramsey FM
transmitters and determined that Gibson was offering for sale, on its
Hobbytron.com website, fully assembled FM broadcast transmitters
designated as R-FM25B-WT and R-FM100B-WT. The FCC's equipment
authorization database indicated that neither Gibson nor Ramsey had
received a grant of equipment certification for either the R-FM25B-WT
or the R-FM100B-WT. The Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability
finding that Gibson apparently marketed two Ramsey models of
uncertified FM broadcast transmitters in the United States, in willful
and repeated violation of Section 302(b) of the Act and Section
2.803(a)(2) of the Rules.
4. On March 21, 2006, believing incorrectly that Gibson had not filed a
response to the NAL, the Bureau issued the Forfeiture Order to Gibson
upholding the NAL. In response, Gibson filed a petition for
reconsideration of the Forfeiture Order. In its petition for
reconsideration, Gibson argues that, for the reasons discussed in its
previous filings, the forfeiture should not have included liability
for sale of Veronica items, refers the Commission to Ramsey if
Ramsey's equipment is not certified, and in any event, states that
Gibson Tech Ed, Inc. did "not have the financial capability to pay any
fines" and "will cease operations as of the end of this month [April,
5. Gibson makes various arguments pertaining to the Commission's
observations in the LOI that Gibson was in violation of Section 302(b)
of the Act for marketing Veronica equipment. Gibson argues that the
Commission used an "illegal secret shopper," and that Gibson had a
form for purchasers to sign indicating they would be responsible for
FCC registration. These arguments are moot, however, because Gibson
has not been assessed a violation for its earlier marketing of
Veronica equipment. Since Gibson stopped marketing the Veronica
equipment upon the first notification by the Commission, it was not
assessed a forfeiture for marketing the Veronica equipment. The two
violations proposed in the NAL and assessed in the Forfeiture Order
pertain to Gibson's marketing of Ramsey equipment on its web site.
6. With respect to marketing Ramsey equipment, Gibson argues that it is
selling US-manufactured Ramsey items that also are sold by hundreds of
retail outlets nationwide. It states that it does "not understand any
issues" with Ramsey equipment in view of Gibson's requirement that
purchasers sign an agreement that they intend to export the
transmitters. Gibson suggests the Commission contact Ramsey if we have
concerns with its equipment. As discussed in the NAL, however,
broadcast transmitters (with few exceptions not relevant here) must be
certified in order to be marketed in the United States. The exception
for sale of broadcast transmitters intended for export is available to
the manufacturer of the transmitters, and the manufacturer must in
fact export the devices. Gibson sells the devices within the United
States, and thus is ineligible for the export exemption. Accordingly,
the "export agreement" Gibson asks its customers to sign does not
relieve Gibson of liability for marketing unlicensed transmitters. We
conclude that Gibson was marketing unauthorized broadcast
transmitters, as discussed in the NAL and Forfeiture Order, in
violation of Section 302(b) of the Act.
7. Gibson further states that it will cease operations at the end of
April 2006 and lacks the financial resources to pay any fine. It adds
that it does not have the financial capability to defend itself, and
that it does not have legal counsel. A recent search of Gibson's
Hobbytron.com website, however, shows that the web site is still
functioning, and that the web site includes a link to Gibson Tech Ed,
Inc., as well, which also has its own web site. Apparently, Gibson
Tech Ed, Inc. is not out of business, and thus it remains liable for
the assessed forfeiture. Moreover, there is no requirement that those
who undertake business within the jurisdiction of the Commission must
be represented by counsel before they are held responsible for
complying with all the Commission's rules and regulations.
Accordingly, it is irrelevant that Gibson is not represented by legal
counsel. Finally, to the extent that Gibson claims inability to pay
the forfeiture, it has failed to provide the required proof of its
inability to pay in the form of "(1) federal tax returns for the most
recent three-year period; (2) financial statements prepared according
to generally accepted accounting; or (3) some other reliable and
objective documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's
current financial status." Insolvency is not grounds to reduce or
cancel a forfeiture if the party claiming a reduction for inability to
pay does not provide adequate financial documentation.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Act, and Section 1.106(j) of the Rules, the Petition for
Reconsideration filed by Gibson Tech Ed, Inc. d/b/a/ Hobbytron.com, IS
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Act and
Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4) of the Rules, Gibson Tech Ed,
Inc., d/b/a Hobbytron.com, IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the
amount of $14,000 for willful and repeated violation of Section 302(b)
of the Act and Section 2.803(a) of the Rules.
10. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in
Section 1.80 of the Rules within 30 days of the release of this Order.
If the forfeiture is not paid within the period specified, the case
may be referred to the Department of Justice for collection pursuant
to Section 504(a) of the Act. Payment may be made by credit card to
the Commission's Credit and Debt Management Center at (202) 418-1995
or by mailing a check or similar instrument, payable to the order of
the Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA
15251-8340. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to Mellon
Bank /LB 358340, 500 Ross Street, Room 1540670, Pittsburgh, PA
15251. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 043000261,
receiving bank Mellon Bank, and account number 911-6106. Requests for
full payment under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief,
Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20554.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order
shall be sent by first class mail and certified mail return receipt
requested to Gibson Tech Ed, Inc. d/b/a Hobbytron.com, 1053 South 1675
West, Orem, Utah 84058.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Kris Anne Monteith Chief, Enforcement Bureau
Gibson Tech Ed., Inc., Orem, Utah, Forfeiture Order, 21 FCC Rcd 2915 (Enf.
47 U.S.C. S 302a(b).
47 C.F.R. S 2.803(a).
Citation issued on June 30, 2004, to Gibson Tech Ed, Inc., by Joseph P.
Casey, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau.
Letter from Joseph P. Casey, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division,
Enforcement Bureau, to Gibson Tech Ed, Inc. (May 14, 2004).
"Ramsey" refers to Ramsey Electronics, Inc., located in Victor, NY.
A certification is an equipment authorization issued by the Commission,
based on representations and test data submitted by the applicant. See 47
C.F.R. S 2.907(a).
As discussed in the NAL, the Bureau conducted a separate investigation of
Ramsey's sale of uncertified intentional FM radiators. Ramsey Electronics,
Inc., 21 FCC Rcd 458 (Enf. Bur., Spectrum Enf. Div., 2006).
Gibson Tech Ed, Inc., 20 FCC Rcd 14438 (Enf. Bur., Spectrum Enforcement
Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S 312(f)(1), which applies to
violations for which forfeitures are assessed under Section 503(b) of the
Act, provides that "[t]he term `willful,' ... means the conscious and
deliberate commission or omission of such act, irrespective of any intent
to violate any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation of the
Commission authorized by this Act ...." See Southern California
Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
Section 312(f)(2) of the Act provides that "[t]he term `repeated,' ...
means the commission or omission of such act more than once or, if such
commission or omission is continuous, for more than one day." 47 U.S.C. S
Letter to Joseph P. Casey, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, from Tim
Gibson, Gibson Tech Ed, Inc., dated April 6, 2006, received April 19, 2006
("Petition for Reconsideration").
Letter to Mr. Brian Butler from Jim Royer, Gibson Tech Ed, Inc., dated
June 22, 2004; Letter to Mr. Brian Butler from Jim Royer, Gibson Tech Ed,
Inc., dated July 20, 2004; Letter to Joseph P. Casey, Chief, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, from Tim Gibson, Gibson Tech Ed, Inc., dated
September 22, 2005 ("Response to NAL").
The forfeiture was for marketing two uncertified Ramsey transmitters, and
did not pertain to Veronica equipment; see P 5, infra.
Petition for Reconsideration, point 5.
Response to NAL, supra.
Id. at fourth unnumbered paragraph.
47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(5).
Petition for Reconsideration, second unnumbered paragraph.
47 C.F.R. S 2.803(a).
See New Image Electronics, 17 FCC Rcd 3594, 3596 (Enf. Bur. 2002).
To the extent that Gibson suggests the Commission acquiesced in this
attempt to circumvent the Commission's rules, we note that the Commission
is not required to develop corporate plans for Rule compliance by
individual retail outlets. It is Gibson's responsibility to ensure its own
compliance with the Rules. See Eure Family Limited Partnership, 17 FCC Rcd
21861, 21863-64 PP 6-7 (2002); Roadrunner Electronics, Inc., 8 FCC Rcd
6398, 6398 P 6 (Field Op. Bur. 1993).
See also NAL at 3, P 8.
Petition for Reconsideration, numbered points 2, 5 and 6.
See Salzer v. FCC, 778 F 2d 869, 875 n. 27 (D.C. Cir. 1985).
NAL at 5, P 19.
North American Broadcasting Co., 19 FCC Rcd 2769, 2770-71 P 6 (Enf. Bur.
47 C.F.R. S 1.106(f).
47 U.S.C. S 503(b).
47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
47 U.S.C. S 504(a).
See 47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.
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Federal Communications Commission DA 06-1697
Federal Communications Commission DA 06-1697