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                                   Before the

                       Federal Communications Commission

                             Washington, D.C. 20554

                           )   File No. EB-06-IH-3723      
     In the Matter of                                      
                           )   NAL/Acct. No. 200732080035  
     COMCAST CORPORATION                                   
                           )   FRN: 00063229247            


   Adopted: September 21, 2007 Released: September 21, 2007

   By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

   I. Introduction

    1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture  ("NAL"), we find
       that Comcast Corporation ("Comcast"), which operates an affiliated
       regional cable network, CN8, is apparently liable for a forfeiture in
       the amount of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for violating Section
       76.1615 of the Commission's rules. This rule generally requires cable
       operators engaged in origination cablecasting to make sponsorship
       identification announcements when presenting matter in return for
       money, service, or other valuable consideration. We find that Comcast
       cablecast portions of a video news release ("VNR") produced on behalf
       of "Nelson's Rescue Sleep" without also airing required sponsorship
       identification announcements.

   II. Background

    2. Section 76.1615(a) of the Commission's rules states:

   When a cable television system operator engaged in origination
   cablecasting presents any matter for which money, service, or other
   valuable consideration is either directly or indirectly paid or promised
   to, or charged or accepted by such cable television system operator, the
   cable television system operator, at the time of the cablecast, shall
   announce that such matter is sponsored, paid for, or furnished, either in
   whole or in part, and by whom or on whose behalf such consideration was
   supplied: Provided, however, that "service or other valuable
   consideration" shall not include any service or property furnished without
   or at a nominal charge for use on, or in connection with, a cablecast
   unless it is so furnished in consideration for an identification of any
   person, product, service, trademark, or brand name beyond an
   identification reasonably related to the use of such service or property
   on the broadcast.

    3. On November 11, 2006, the Center for Media and Democracy ("CMD") and
       Free Press jointly filed a complaint against Comcast alleging that, on
       September 21, 2006, CN8 transmitted a VNR produced by D.S. Simon
       Productions for Nelson's Rescue Sleep without providing the
       sponsorship identification required by Section 76.1615.

    4. On April 26, 2007, the Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau") issued a letter
       of inquiry to Comcast to determine, among other things, whether CN8
       transmitted the VNR as alleged, and if so, whether Comcast disclosed
       the source of the VNR in its cablecast.

    5. Comcast responded to the letter of inquiry on July 2, 2007. Comcast
       admits that on September 21, 2006, its affiliated cable network, CN8,
       aired portions of a VNR produced on behalf of "Nelson's Rescue Sleep"
       without any sponsorship identification. Comcast argues as a threshold
       matter that Section 76.1615 appears to be invalid because the
       statutory provision underlying that rule, Section 317 of the
       Communications Act, as amended (the "Act"), applies only to
       broadcasting and not to cablecasting. Comcast states that although it
       does not believe that the Commission has the authority to apply
       Section 317 in the context of cable programming or to enforce Section
       76.1615 of the Commission's rules, it nonetheless responded to the
       inquiries set forth in the LOI. Comcast contends that even assuming
       the validity of the rule, CN8's use of the VNR material did not
       violate Section 76.1615. Specifically, Comcast argues that no
       sponsorship identification is required unless consideration is
       received or promised as part of an express or implied agreement in
       exchange for use of the VNR. Comcast further states that CN8 and its
       employees did not receive and were not promised any consideration from
       any source in exchange for cablecasting the VNR material.

   III. Discussion

    6. Under Section 503(b)(1) of the Act, any person who is determined by
       the Commission to have willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with
       any provision of the Act or any rule, regulation, or order issued by
       the Commission shall be liable to the United States for a monetary
       forfeiture penalty. To impose such a forfeiture penalty, the
       Commission must issue a notice of apparent liability, and the person
       against whom the notice has been issued must have an opportunity to
       show, in writing, why no such forfeiture penalty should be imposed.
       The Commission will then issue a forfeiture if it finds by a
       preponderance of the evidence that the person has violated the Act or
       a Commission rule. We conclude under this standard that Comcast is
       apparently liable for a forfeiture for its apparent willful violation
       of Section 76.1615 of the Commission's rules.

    7. Section 76.1615(a) of the Commission's rules makes clear that when a
       cable television system operator engages in origination cablecasting,
       it must identify the sponsor of a material whenever that operator
       accepts "money, service or other valuable consideration" to air that
       material. The phrase "service or other valuable consideration,"
       however, does not include "service or property furnished without
       charge or at a nominal charge for use on, or in connection with a
       broadcast," unless such service or property is "furnished in
       consideration for an identification in a broadcast of any person,
       product, service, trademark or brand name beyond an identification
       which is reasonably related to the use of such service or property on
       the broadcast." Thus, while the proviso to the rule exempts service or
       property furnished without charge from the duty to announce the
       sponsor or source of such material, the exception to that proviso
       reinstates the duty when there is too much focus on a product or brand
       name in the programming.

    8. CN8's cablecast featuring "Nelson's Rescue Sleep" was part of a daily
       segment on "Art Fennell Reports" focusing on consumer issues. On
       September 21, 2006, the consumer-issues segment concerned
       non-prescription sleep aids. The segment featured only "Nelson's
       Rescue Sleep," a commercial, natural sleep-aid product, and included
       portions of a VNR produced by D.S. Simon Productions on behalf of
       "Nelson's Rescue Sleep." The VNR material used in this consumer-issues
       segment contains extensive images and mentions of the product and
       includes the statement that "If you are one of the estimated 70
       million Americans who have trouble sleeping - Rescue Sleep may be what
       you're looking for." We do not believe that this type of promotional
       material, furnished by a product manufacturer, can or should be
       considered within the scope of the proviso, which is directed to
       material that contains only fleeting or transient references to
       products or brand names. We conclude that even though CN8 received
       this material at no charge, it falls within the exception specifically
       set forth in the rule and that a sponsorship announcement was thus
       required. We therefore find that Comcast violated Section 76.1615(a)
       of the Commission's rules by willfully airing the VNR material at
       issue without proper sponsorship identification.

    9. The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement sets a base forfeiture
       amount of $4,000 for sponsorship identification violations. After
       considering the record and all of the factors contained in Section
       503(b)(2)(D) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(D), and the Forfeiture
       Policy Statement, we believe a $4,000 forfeiture is appropriate in
       this case, which represents the base amount for the cablecast
       transmitted by CN8 on September 21, 2006.


   10. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
       Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and
       1.80 of the Commission's rules, Comcast Corporation is hereby NOTIFIED
       of its APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE in the amount of Four
       Thousand Dollars ($4,000) for willfully violating Section 76.1615 of
       the Commission's rules.

   11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the Commission's
       rules, that within thirty days of the release of this Notice, Comcast
       Corporation SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or
       SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of
       the proposed forfeiture.

   12. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument,
       payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. The
       payment must include the NAL/Acct. No. and FRN No. referenced above.
       Payment by check or money order may be mailed to 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.

   13. The response, if any, must be mailed to the Office of the Secretary,
       Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington,
       D.C. 20554, to the Attention of: Hillary S. DeNigro, Chief,
       Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Room 4-C330,
       and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced above.

   14. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
       response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits:
       (1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
       financial statements prepared according to generally accepted
       accounting practices; or (3) some other reliable and objective
       documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's current
       financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must specifically
       identify the basis for the claim by reference to the financial
       documentation submitted.

   15. Requests for payment of the full amount of the NAL under an
       installment plan should be sent to: Associate Managing Director -
       Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington,
       D.C. 20554.

   16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice shall be sent, by
       Certified Mail/Return Receipt Requested, to Peter H. Feinberg,
       Associate General Counsel, Comcast Corporation, 1500 Market Street,
       Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19102, and to its counsel, James L.
       Casserly, Esquire, and Megan Anne Stull, Esquire, Willkie Farr and
       Gallagher LLP, 1875 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.


   Kris Anne Monteith

   Chief, Enforcement Bureau

   See 47 C.F.R. S: 76.1615.

   CN8 supplies programming to Comcast cable systems, and Comcast does not
   contest that the programming at issue here was carried on its cable

   47 C.F.R. S: 76.1615. The rule also contains additional requirements for
   cable operators under certain circumstances.

   See Complaint of Timothy Karr, Campaign Director, Free Press, and Diane
   Farsetta, Senior Researcher, Center for Media and Democracy, dated
   November 14, 2006 (File No. EB-06-IH-5669) ("Complaint"). The Complaint
   also cited four other cablecasts in which CN8 had allegedly failed to
   provide the required sponsorship identification. This NAL addresses the
   Complaint only with respect to the September 21, 2006, cablecast on CN8.

   See Letter from Hillary S. DeNigro, Chief, Investigations & Hearings
   Division, Enforcement Bureau, to Comcast Corporation, dated April 26, 2007

   See Letter from Megan Anne Stull, Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP, Counsel
   for Comcast Corporation, dated July 2, 2007 ("Response").

   See id. at 4.

   See Response at 1-2. The Commission has previously concluded that the
   statutory sponsorship identification requirements also apply to
   origination programming by cable operators. See Commission Reminds
   Broadcast Licensees, Cable Operators and Others of Requirements Applicable
   to Video News Releases, Public Notice, 20 FCC Rcd 8593, 8594, n.6 (2005).
   We will not revisit that conclusion here.

   See id. at 3.

   See id.

   See id. at 3-4, 5, 7.  In addition, Comcast notes that it paid CNN
   Newsource a licensing fee for access to the VNR material. See id. at 5.

   See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(1)(B); 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(a)(1); see also 47 U.S.C.
   S: 503(b)(1)(D) (forfeitures for violation of 14 U.S.C. S: 1464). Section
   312(f)(1) of the Act defines willful as "the conscious and deliberate
   commission or omission of [any] act, irrespective of any intent to
   violate" the law. See 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1). The legislative history to
   Section 312(f)(1) of the Act clarifies that this definition of willful
   applies to both Sections 312 and 503(b) of the Act, H.R. Rep. No. 97-765,
   97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51 (1982), and the Commission has so interpreted the
   term in the Section 503(b) context. See, e.g., Southern California
   Broadcasting Co., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388
   (1991) ("Southern California Broadcasting Co."). The Commission may also
   assess a forfeiture for violations that are merely repeated, and not
   willful. See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Notice of Apparent
   Liability for Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359 (2001) (issuing a
   Notice of Apparent Liability for, inter alia, a cable television
   operator's repeated signal leakage). "Repeated" merely means that the act
   was committed or omitted more than once, or lasts more than one day.
   Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd at 4388, P: 5;  Callais
   Cablevision, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd  at 1362, P:9.

   See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b); 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(f).

   See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589,
   7591, P: 4 (2002) (forfeiture paid).

   47 C.F.R. S:76.1615(a).

   See Response at 4-5.

   See id. at 5 & Declaration of Janet Zappala.

   Response at 6 and Exhibit 1. We note that the VNR material used on the
   segment was edited, but that the editing did not alter the product and
   brand-name focus of the material.

   See Applicability of Sponsorship Identification Rules, Public Notice, 40
   FCC 141, 148, illustrative interpretation 26(b) (1963) ("1963 Public

   We note that there may be other bases for requiring sponsorship
   identification but we do not reach these in this Notice of Apparent

   See The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section
   1.80 of the Commission's Rules, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17114 (1997), recons.
   denied 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(b).

   See 47 C.F.R. S: 1.1914.

   (Continued from previous page)


   Federal Communications Commission DA 07-4005



   Federal Communications Commission DA 07-4005