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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Universal Network Television, ) File No. EB-04-NY-050
Universal City, CA ) NAL/Acct. No. 200532380001
) FRN: 00010 6623 51
Adopted: June 8, 2005 Released: June 10,
By the Regional Director, Northeast Region, Enforcement
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand dollars
($10,000) to Universal Network Television, LLC
(``Universal'') for willfully and repeatedly violating
Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended
(``Act''),1 by operating unlicensed radio transmitting
equipment on the frequency 465.63125 MHz in New York, NY.
2. On March 22, 2004, the Commission's New York Field
Office (``New York Office'') received a complaint of
interference from a licensee in the Public Safety Radio
Pool operating on the frequency 465.6250 MHz. The
complainant identified Universal, located at Pier 62, West
23rd Street and 12th Avenue, New York, NY, 10011, as the
party causing the interference by operation on the
frequency 465.63125 MHz. The complainant also stated that
Universal was notified of the interference caused by the
unlicensed operation on the frequency 465.63125 MHz.
3. On March 23, 2004, a Commission agent, using a
mobile direction-finding vehicle monitored the frequency
465.63125 MHz in New York, NY and positively located the
source of the transmissions to the area at Pier 62, West
23rd Street and 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10011. The
agent observed transmissions from several portable
transceivers used by a television production crew. A
review of the Commission's databases at that time showed
no evidence of an authorization for Universal to operate
on the frequency 465.63125 in New York, NY, or anywhere
else, and further revealed that Universal did not hold any
land mobile licenses.
2. On March 24, 2004, Commission agents monitored the
frequency 465.63125 MHz in New York, NY, and heard
transmissions of a television production crew. The agents
returned to Universal, Pier 62, West 23rd Street and 12th
Avenue, New York, NY 10011, and conducted an inspection of
the radio equipment with the Assistant Production
Coordinator. The agents determined that Universal operated
Motorola P1225 UHF portable radio transceivers, rated at 4.4
watts, on the frequency 465.63125 MHz. The agents advised
the Assistant Production Coordinator that operation on that
frequency requires a license and that, based on the agent's
review of the Commission's databases, there was no evidence
of a Commission authorization for this operation in New
York, NY and therefore Universal was operating portable
radio transmission equipment without the required FCC
3. On October 18, 2004, the Commission's New York
Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(``NAL'') to Universal for a forfeiture in the amount of ten
thousand dollars ($10,000) for willful and repeated
violation of Section 301 of the Act.2 Universal filed a
response to the NAL on November 16, 2004. In its response,
Universal explains that for many years it used the frequency
465.63125 MHz on its portable transceivers pursuant to a
service agreement with a third-party vendor. Universal
states that to facilitate more efficient operations, it
decided to purchase the portable transceivers from that same
third-party vendor and subsequently purchased additional
portable transceivers from another third-party vendor. All
of the transceivers purchased by Universal were programmed
with the 465.63125 MHz frequency that Universal had been
using under the service agreement. Universal claims that
neither vendor advised Universal that it was required to
acquire a license to operate the portable transceivers on
the frequency 465.63125 MHz.
4. The forfeiture amount proposed in this case was
assessed in accordance with Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (``Act''),3 Section
1.80 of the Rules,4 and the Commission's Forfeiture Policy
Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to
Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines.5 In assessing
forfeitures, Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act requires that
we take into account the nature, circumstances, extent and
gravity of the violation and, with respect to the violator,
the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses,
ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may
require.6 As discussed below, we have considered
Universal's response to the NAL in light of these statutory
factors and have found that reduction or cancellation of the
proposed forfeiture amount is not warranted.
5. Section 301 of the Act states that no person shall
use or operate any apparatus for the transmission of energy
or communications or signals by radio within the United
States except under and in accordance with the Act and with
a license.7 Commission agents determined that Universal
operated radio-transmitting equipment on March 23, 2004 and
March 24, 2004 without an FCC license. The violation of
Section 301 of the Act therefore is repeated.8
6. In light of our determination that Universal's
violation was repeated, we are not required under the Act to
make a determination as to whether the violation was
willful. Section 503(b) of the Act gives the Commission the
authority to assess a forfeiture penalty against any person
if the Commission determines that the person has ``willfully
or repeatedly'' failed to comply with the provisions of the
Act or with any rule, regulation or order issued by the
Commission. We nevertheless address Universal's claim that
its actions were not willful.
7. Universal argues that the forfeiture should be
cancelled because it was not aware that a license was
necessary for the operation of the radio transmitting
equipment and therefore the violation cannot be considered
``willful.'' For a violation to be willful, it must be
committed consciously and deliberately, irrespective of any
intent to violate the Rules.9 Universal does not dispute
that it operated the portable transceivers without a license
and therefore its actions were willful, as that term is
defined in the Act. Furthermore, as the owner and operator
of the radio equipment, Universal, not its radio vendor, is
responsible for complying with all applicable FCC rules.
The Commission has consistently stated that ignorance of the
law is not a mitigating factor.10
8. We also find that cancellation is not warranted
based on the remedial actions taken by Universal since it
became aware of the unlicensed operation. Universal states
that it (1) voluntarily cooperated with efforts to resolve
the interference , (2) terminated operations until the
necessary applications were submitted, (3) took it upon
itself to prepare and submit the necessary FCC applications,
and (4) implemented internal compliance procedures. As the
Commission has stated, ``corrective action taken to come
into compliance with Commission rules or policy is expected,
and does not nullify or mitigate any prior forfeitures or
9. We have examined Universal's response to the NAL
pursuant to the statutory factors above, and in conjunction
with the Forfeiture Policy Statement. As a result of our
review, we conclude that Universal willfully and repeatedly
violated Section 301 of the Act. We also conclude that
neither cancellation nor reduction of the proposed $10,000
monetary forfeiture is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Act, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and
1.80(f)(4) of the Rules12, Universal Network Television,
LLC. IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of
ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for willful and repeated
violation of Section 301 of the Act.
11. 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. 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. 20554.13
12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order
shall be sent by First Class and Certified Mail Return
Receipt Requested to Universal Network Television, LLC's
address of record.
Russell Monie, Jr.
Regional Director, Northeast
147 U.S.C. § 301.
2Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
200532380001 (Enf. Bur., New York Office, released October
347 U.S.C. § 503(b).
447 C.F.R. § 1.80.
512 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303
(1999) (``Forfeiture Policy Statement'').
647 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
747 U.S.C. § 301.
8Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2), which
also applies to violations for which forfeitures are
assessed under Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that
"[t]he term 'repeated', when used with reference to the
commission or omission of any act, means the commission or
omission of such act more than once or, if such commission
or omission is continuous, for more than one day.''
9Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 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', when used with reference to the commission or
omission of any act, 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
10Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387
(1991), citing Vernon Broadcasting, Inc., 60 RR 2d 1275,
1277 (1986) and Fay Neel Eggleston, 19 FCC 2d 829 (1969).
11See Seawest Yacht Brokers, 9 FCC Rcd 6099 (1994).
1247 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f).
13See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.