[USC02] 47 USC CHAPTER 5, SUBCHAPTER V: PENAL PROVISIONS; FORFEITURES
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47 USC CHAPTER 5, SUBCHAPTER V: PENAL PROVISIONS; FORFEITURES
From Title 47—TELECOMMUNICATIONSCHAPTER 5—WIRE OR RADIO COMMUNICATION

SUBCHAPTER V—PENAL PROVISIONS; FORFEITURES

§501. General penalty

Any person who willfully and knowingly does or causes or suffers to be done any act, matter, or thing, in this chapter prohibited or declared to be unlawful, or who willfully and knowingly omits or fails to do any act, matter, or thing in this chapter required to be done, or willfully and knowingly causes or suffers such omission or failure, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for such offense, for which no penalty (other than a forfeiture) is provided in this chapter, by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both; except that any person, having been once convicted of an offense punishable under this section, who is subsequently convicted of violating any provision of this chapter punishable under this section, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §501, 48 Stat. 1100; Mar. 23, 1954, ch. 104, 68 Stat. 30.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1954—Act Mar. 23, 1954, provided that any offense punishable hereunder, except a second or subsequent offense, should constitute a misdemeanor rather than a felony, as those terms are defined in section 1 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

§502. Violation of rules, regulations, etc.

Any person who willfully and knowingly violates any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by the Commission under authority of this chapter, or any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by any international radio or wire communications treaty or convention, or regulations annexed thereto, to which the United States is or may hereafter become a party, shall, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be punished, upon conviction thereof, by a fine of not more than $500 for each and every day during which such offense occurs.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §502, 48 Stat. 1100.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§503. Forfeitures

(a) Rebates and offsets

Any person who shall deliver messages for interstate or foreign transmission to any carrier, or for whom as sender or receiver, any such carrier shall transmit any interstate or foreign wire or radio communication, who shall knowingly by employee, agent, officer, or otherwise, directly or indirectly, by or through any means or device whatsoever, receive or accept from such common carrier any sum of money or any other valuable consideration as a rebate or offset against the regular charges for transmission of such messages as fixed by the schedules of charges provided for in this chapter, shall in addition to any other penalty provided by this chapter forfeit to the United States a sum of money three times the amount of money so received or accepted and three times the value of any other consideration so received or accepted, to be ascertained by the trial court; and in the trial of said action all such rebates or other considerations so received or accepted for a period of six years prior to the commencement of the action, may be included therein, and the amount recovered shall be three times the total amount of money, or three times the total value of such consideration, so received or accepted, or both, as the case may be.

(b) Activities constituting violations authorizing imposition of forfeiture penalty; amount of penalty; procedures applicable; persons subject to penalty; liability exemption period

(1) Any person who is determined by the Commission, in accordance with paragraph (3) or (4) of this subsection, to have—

(A) willfully or repeatedly failed to comply substantially with the terms and conditions of any license, permit, certificate, or other instrument or authorization issued by the Commission;

(B) willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission under this chapter or under any treaty, convention, or other agreement to which the United States is a party and which is binding upon the United States;

(C) violated any provision of section 317(c) or 509(a) of this title; or

(D) violated any provision of section 1304, 1343, 1464, or 2252 of title 18;


shall be liable to the United States for a forfeiture penalty. A forfeiture penalty under this subsection shall be in addition to any other penalty provided for by this chapter; except that this subsection shall not apply to any conduct which is subject to forfeiture under subchapter II, part II or III of subchapter III, or section 507 of this title.

(2)(A) If the violator is (i) a broadcast station licensee or permittee, (ii) a cable television operator, or (iii) an applicant for any broadcast or cable television operator license, permit, certificate, or other instrument or authorization issued by the Commission, the amount of any forfeiture penalty determined under this section shall not exceed $25,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, except that the amount assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $250,000 for any single act or failure to act described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(B) If the violator is a common carrier subject to the provisions of this chapter or an applicant for any common carrier license, permit, certificate, or other instrument of authorization issued by the Commission, the amount of any forfeiture penalty determined under this subsection shall not exceed $100,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, except that the amount assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $1,000,000 for any single act or failure to act described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), if the violator is—

(i)(I) a broadcast station licensee or permittee; or

(II) an applicant for any broadcast license, permit, certificate, or other instrument or authorization issued by the Commission; and

(ii) determined by the Commission under paragraph (1) to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane language,1 the amount of any forfeiture penalty determined under this subsection shall not exceed $325,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, except that the amount assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $3,000,000 for any single act or failure to act.


(D) In any case not covered in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C), the amount of any forfeiture penalty determined under this subsection shall not exceed $10,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, except that the amount assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $75,000 for any single act or failure to act described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(E) The amount of such forfeiture penalty shall be assessed by the Commission, or its designee, by written notice. In determining the amount of such a forfeiture penalty, the Commission or its designee shall 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.

(F) Subject to paragraph (5) of this section, if the violator is a manufacturer or service provider subject to the requirements of section 255, 617, or 619 of this title, and is determined by the Commission to have violated any such requirement, the manufacturer or provider shall be liable to the United States for a forfeiture penalty of not more than $100,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, except that the amount assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $1,000,000 for any single act or failure to act.

(3)(A) At the discretion of the Commission, a forfeiture penalty may be determined against a person under this subsection after notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the Commission or an administrative law judge thereof in accordance with section 554 of title 5. Any person against whom a forfeiture penalty is determined under this paragraph may obtain review thereof pursuant to section 402(a) of this title.

(B) If any person fails to pay an assessment of a forfeiture penalty determined under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, after it has become a final and unappealable order or after the appropriate court has entered final judgment in favor of the Commission, the Commission shall refer the matter to the Attorney General of the United States, who shall recover the amount assessed in any appropriate district court of the United States. In such action, the validity and appropriateness of the final order imposing the forfeiture penalty shall not be subject to review.

(4) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, no forfeiture penalty shall be imposed under this subsection against any person unless and until—

(A) the Commission issues a notice of apparent liability, in writing, with respect to such person;

(B) such notice has been received by such person, or until the Commission has sent such notice to the last known address of such person, by registered or certified mail; and

(C) such person is granted an opportunity to show, in writing, within such reasonable period of time as the Commission prescribes by rule or regulation, why no such forfeiture penalty should be imposed.


Such a notice shall (i) identify each specific provision, term, and condition of any Act, rule, regulation, order, treaty, convention, or other agreement, license, permit, certificate, instrument, or authorization which such person apparently violated or with which such person apparently failed to comply; (ii) set forth the nature of the act or omission charged against such person and the facts upon which such charge is based; and (iii) state the date on which such conduct occurred. Any forfeiture penalty determined under this paragraph shall be recoverable pursuant to section 504(a) of this title.

(5) No forfeiture liability shall be determined under this subsection against any person, if such person does not hold a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization issued by the Commission, and if such person is not an applicant for a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization issued by the Commission, unless, prior to the notice required by paragraph (3) of this subsection or the notice of apparent liability required by paragraph (4) of this subsection, such person (A) is sent a citation of the violation charged; (B) is given a reasonable opportunity for a personal interview with an official of the Commission, at the field office of the Commission which is nearest to such person's place of residence; and (C) subsequently engages in conduct of the type described in such citation. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply, however, if the person involved is engaging in activities for which a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization is required, or is a cable television system operator, if the person involved is transmitting on frequencies assigned for use in a service in which individual station operation is authorized by rule pursuant to section 307(e) of this title, or in the case of violations of section 303(q) of this title, if the person involved is a nonlicensee tower owner who has previously received notice of the obligations imposed by section 303(q) of this title from the Commission or the permittee or licensee who uses that tower. Whenever the requirements of this paragraph are satisfied with respect to a particular person, such person shall not be entitled to receive any additional citation of the violation charged, with respect to any conduct of the type described in the citation sent under this paragraph.

(6) No forfeiture penalty shall be determined or imposed against any person under this subsection if—

(A) such person holds a broadcast station license issued under subchapter III of this chapter and if the violation charged occurred—

(i) more than 1 year prior to the date of issuance of the required notice or notice of apparent liability; or

(ii) prior to the date of commencement of the current term of such license,


whichever is earlier; or

(B) such person does not hold a broadcast station license issued under subchapter III of this chapter and if the violation charged occurred more than 1 year prior to the date of issuance of the required notice or notice of apparent liability.


For purposes of this paragraph, "date of commencement of the current term of such license" means the date of commencement of the last term of license for which the licensee has been granted a license by the Commission. A separate license term shall not be deemed to have commenced as a result of continuing a license in effect under section 307(c) of this title pending decision on an application for renewal of the license.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §503, 48 Stat. 1101; Pub. L. 86–752, §7(a), Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 894; Pub. L. 95–234, §2, Feb. 21, 1978, 92 Stat. 33; Pub. L. 96–507, §2(b), Dec. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 2747; Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §124, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1098; Pub. L. 98–214, §4(b), Dec. 8, 1983, 97 Stat. 1468; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3002(i), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131; Pub. L. 101–396, §10, Sept. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 851; Pub. L. 102–538, title II, §§206, 210(b), Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3543, 3544; Pub. L. 109–235, §2, June 15, 2006, 120 Stat. 491; Pub. L. 110–385, title II, §221, Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4105; Pub. L. 111–260, title I, §104(c), Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2761.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Parts II and III of subchapter III, referred to in subsec. (b)(1), are classified to sections 351 et seq. and 381 et seq., respectively, of this title.

Amendments

2010—Subsec. (b)(2)(F). Pub. L. 111–260 added subpar. (F).

2008—Subsec. (b)(1)(D). Pub. L. 110–385 substituted "1464, or 2252" for "or 1464".

2006—Subsec. (b)(2)(C). Pub. L. 109–235, §2(2), added subpar. (C). Former subpar. (C) redesignated (D).

Subsec. (b)(2)(D). Pub. L. 109–235, §2(1), (3), redesignated subpar. (C) as (D) and substituted "subparagraph (A), (B), or (C)" for "subparagraph (A) or (B)". Former subpar. (D) redesignated (E).

Subsec. (b)(2)(E). Pub. L. 109–235, §(2)(1), redesignated subpar. (D) as (E).

1992—Subsec. (b)(5). Pub. L. 102–538, §210(b), substituted "system operator," for "system operator or" and inserted ", or in the case of violations of section 303(q) of this title, if the person involved is a nonlicensee tower owner who has previously received notice of the obligations imposed by section 303(q) of this title from the Commission or the permittee or licensee who uses that tower" after "section 307(e) of this title".

Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 102–538, §206(2), inserted at end "For purposes of this paragraph, 'date of commencement of the current term of such license' means the date of commencement of the last term of license for which the licensee has been granted a license by the Commission. A separate license term shall not be deemed to have commenced as a result of continuing a license in effect under section 307(c) of this title pending decision on an application for renewal of the license."

Subsec. (b)(6)(A). Pub. L. 102–538, §206(1), struck out "so long as such violation occurred within 3 years prior to the date of issuance of such required notice" after "whichever is earlier".

1990—Subsec. (b)(5). Pub. L. 101–396 inserted "and if such person is not an applicant for a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization issued by the Commission," before "unless, prior".

1989—Subsec. (b)(1), (2). Pub. L. 101–239 inserted "(1)" before "Any person who" in first par., added par. (2), and struck out former par. (2) thereby resulting in increasing penalty if violator is a common carrier from $20,000 to $100,000 per day to a maximum of $1,000,000 per act and penalty if violator is a broadcast station licensee or cable television operator from $20,000 to $25,000 per day to a maximum of $250,000 per act, making such penalty also applicable to television operator applicants, and increasing penalty in all other cases from $5,000 to $10,000 per day to a maximum of $75,000.

1983—Subsec. (b)(5). Pub. L. 98–214 inserted "or if the person involved is transmitting on frequencies assigned for use in a service in which individual station operation is authorized by rule pursuant to section 307(e) of this title".

1982—Subsec. (b)(5). Pub. L. 97–259 inserted ", or is a cable television system operator" after "other authorization is required".

1980—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 96–507 conformed references in first paragraph to sections 509(a) and 507 of this title to reflect renumbering of those sections which required no change in text.

1978—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 95–234 substituted provisions relating to activities making persons liable for forfeiture penalties, amounts of forfeiture penalties, procedures applicable for imposition of forfeiture penalties, and exemptions from liability from imposition of forfeiture penalties, for provisions relating to activities of licensees or permittees constituting violations and authorizing forfeiture to the United States of a sum not to exceed $1,000 for each separate offense, procedures applicable for imposition of forfeiture liability, and limitations on imposition of forfeiture liability.

1960Pub. L. 86–752 amended section catchline substituting "Forfeitures" for "Rebates and offsets, forfeitures,", designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), and added subsec. (b).


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 95–234 effective on thirtieth day after Feb. 21, 1978, except that the provisions of subsec. (b) of this section, as in effect on Feb. 21, 1978, shall continue to constitute the applicable law with respect to any act or omission which occurs prior to such thirtieth day, see section 7 of Pub. L. 95–234, set out as a note under section 152 of this title.

Disclaimer for Press Releases Regarding Notices of Apparent Liability

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title V, §511, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1097, provided that: "The Commission [Federal Communications Commission] shall include in any press release regarding the issuance of a notice of apparent liability under section 503(b)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 503(b)(4)) a disclaimer informing consumers that—

"(1) the issuance of a notice of apparent liability should be treated only as allegations; and

"(2) the amount of any forfeiture penalty proposed in a notice of apparent liability represents the maximum penalty that the Commission may impose for the violations alleged in the notice of apparent liability."

1 So in original. Following provision probably should be set flush with subpar. (C).

§504. Forfeitures

(a) Recovery

The forfeitures provided for in this chapter shall be payable into the Treasury of the United States, and shall be recoverable, except as otherwise provided with respect to a forfeiture penalty determined under section 503(b)(3) of this title, in a civil suit in the name of the United States brought in the district where the person or carrier has its principal operating office or in any district through which the line or system of the carrier runs: Provided, That any suit for the recovery of a forfeiture imposed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be a trial de novo: Provided further, That in the case of forfeiture by a ship, said forfeiture may also be recoverable by way of libel in any district in which such ship shall arrive or depart. Such forfeitures shall be in addition to any other general or specific penalties provided in this chapter. It shall be the duty of the various United States attorneys, under the direction of the Attorney General of the United States, to prosecute for the recovery of forfeitures under this chapter. The costs and expenses of such prosecutions shall be paid from the appropriation for the expenses of the courts of the United States.

(b) Remission and mitigation

The forfeitures imposed by subchapter II, parts II and III of subchapter III, and sections 503(b) and 507 of this title shall be subject to remission or mitigation by the Commission under such regulations and methods of ascertaining the facts as may seem to it advisable, and, if suit has been instituted, the Attorney General, upon request of the Commission, shall direct the discontinuance of any prosecution to recover such forfeitures: Provided, however, That no forfeiture shall be remitted or mitigated after determination by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) Use of notice of apparent liability

In any case where the Commission issues a notice of apparent liability looking toward the imposition of a forfeiture under this chapter, that fact shall not be used, in any other proceeding before the Commission, to the prejudice of the person to whom such notice was issued, unless (i) the forfeiture has been paid, or (ii) a court of competent jurisdiction has ordered payment of such forfeiture, and such order has become final.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §504, 48 Stat. 1101; May 20, 1937, ch. 229, §14, 50 Stat. 197; June 25, 1948, ch. 646, §1, 62 Stat. 909; Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 735, §4, 68 Stat. 729; Aug. 6, 1956, ch. 973, §2, 70 Stat. 1048; Pub. L. 86–752, §7(b)–(d), Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 895; Pub. L. 87–448, §2, May 11, 1962, 76 Stat. 69; Pub. L. 95–234, §3, Feb. 21, 1978, 92 Stat. 35; Pub. L. 96–507, §2(c), Dec. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 2747.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (c), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Parts II and III of subchapter III, referred to in subsec. (b), are classified to sections 351 et seq. and 381 et seq., respectively, of this title.

Amendments

1980—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 96–507 conformed reference to section 507 of this title to reflect renumbering of that section which required no change in text.

1978—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–234, §3(a), inserted in first sentence ", except as otherwise provided with respect to a forfeiture penalty determined under section 503(b)(3) of this title," after "recoverable". Such wording was inserted only after the first reference to "recoverable" as the probable intent of Congress.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 95–234, §3(b), inserted reference to subchapter II of this chapter and struck out reference to section 510 of this title and ", upon application therefor," after "by the Commission".

1962—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 87–448 empowered the Commission to remit or mitigate the forfeitures imposed by section 510 of this title.

1960—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 86–752, §7(b), inserted proviso that any suit for recovery of a forfeiture shall be a trial de novo.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 86–752, §7(c), substituted "sections 503(b) and 507" for "section 507".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 86–752, §7(d), added subsec. (c).

1956—Subsec. (b). Act Aug. 6, 1956, inserted reference to part III of subchapter III.

1954—Subsec. (b). Act Aug. 13, 1954, inserted reference to section 507 of this title.

1937—Act May 20, 1937, designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), inserted proviso as to recovery of forfeiture in any district where a ship may arrive or depart, and added subsec. (b).


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Change of Name

Act June 25, 1948, eff. Sept. 1, 1948, substituted "United States attorneys" for "district attorneys". See section 541 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, and Historical and Revision Notes thereunder.

Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 95–234 effective on thirtieth day after Feb. 21, 1978, see section 7 of Pub. L. 95–234, set out as a note under section 152 of this title.

Effective Date of 1962 Amendment

Pub. L. 87–448, §3, May 11, 1962, 76 Stat. 69, provided that: "The amendments made by this Act [enacting section 510 of this title and amending this section] shall take effect on the thirtieth day after the date of its enactment [May 11, 1962]."

Effective Date of 1956 Amendment

Amendment by act Aug. 6, 1956, effective Mar. 1, 1957, see section 4 of act Aug. 6, 1956, set out as an Effective Date note under section 381 of this title.

Effective Date of 1954 Amendment

Amendment by act Aug. 13, 1954, effective Nov. 13, 1954, see section 6 of act Aug. 13, 1954, set out as an Effective Date note under section 507 of this title.

§505. Venue of trials

The trial of any offense under this chapter shall be in the district in which it is committed; or if the offense is committed upon the high seas, or out of the jurisdiction of any particular State or district, the trial shall be in the district where the offender may be found or into which he shall be first brought. Whenever the offense is begun in one jurisdiction and completed in another it may be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in either jurisdiction in the same manner as if the offense had been actually and wholly committed therein.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §505, 48 Stat. 1101.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§506. Repealed. Pub. L. 96–507, §1, Dec. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 2747

Section, act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §506, as added Apr. 16, 1946, ch. 138, 60 Stat. 89, prohibited certain coercive practices affecting broadcasting and provided penalties for violations.

§507. Violation of Great Lakes Agreement

(a) Any vessel of the United States that is navigated in violation of the provisions of the Great Lakes Agreement or the rules and regulations of the Commission made in pursuance thereof and any vessel of a foreign country that is so navigated on waters under the jurisdiction of the United States shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $500 recoverable by way of suit or libel. Each day during which such navigation occurs shall constitute a separate offense.

(b) Every willful failure on the part of the master of a vessel of the United States to enforce or to comply with the provisions of the Great Lakes Agreement or the rules and regulations of the Commission made in pursuance thereof shall cause him to forfeit to the United States the sum of $100.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §506, formerly §507, as added Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 735, §3, 68 Stat. 729; renumbered §506, Pub. L. 96–507, §1, Dec. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 2747.)


Editorial Notes

Prior Provisions

A prior section 506 of act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, was classified to section 506 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 96–507.


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Section 6 of act Aug. 13, 1954, provided that: "This Act [enacting this section and amending sections 153, 154, and 504 of this title] shall take effect on November 13, 1954."

§508. Disclosure of payments to individuals connected with broadcasts

(a) Payments to station employees

Subject to subsection (d), any employee of a radio station who accepts or agrees to accept from any person (other than such station), or any person (other than such station) who pays or agrees to pay such employee, any money, service or other valuable consideration for the broadcast of any matter over such station shall, in advance of such broadcast, disclose the fact of such acceptance or agreement to such station.

(b) Production or preparation of programs

Subject to subsection (d), any person who, in connection with the production or preparation of any program or program matter which is intended for broadcasting over any radio station, accepts or agrees to accept, or pays or agrees to pay, any money, service or other valuable consideration for the inclusion of any matter as a part of such program or program matter, shall, in advance of such broadcast, disclose the fact of such acceptance or payment or agreement to the payee's employer, or to the person for whom such program or program matter is being produced, or to the licensee of such station over which such program is broadcast.

(c) Supplying of program or program matter

Subject to subsection (d), any person who supplies to any other person any program or program matter which is intended for broadcasting over any radio station shall, in advance of such broadcast, disclose to such other person any information of which he has knowledge, or which has been disclosed to him, as to any money, service or other valuable consideration which any person has paid or accepted, or has agreed to pay or accept, for the inclusion of any matter as a part of such program or program matter.

(d) Waiver of announcements under section 317(d)

The provisions of this section requiring the disclosure of information shall not apply in any case where, because of a waiver made by the Commission under section 317(d) of this title, an announcement is not required to be made under section 317 of this title.

(e) Announcement under section 317 as sufficient disclosure

The inclusion in the program of the announcement required by section 317 of this title shall constitute the disclosure required by this section.

(f) "Service or other valuable consideration" defined

The term "service or other valuable consideration" as used in this section shall not include any service or property furnished without charge or at a nominal charge for use on, or in connection with, a broadcast, or for use on a program which is intended for broadcasting over any radio station, unless it is so furnished in consideration for an identification in such broadcast or in such program of any person, product, service, trademark, or brand name beyond an identification which is reasonably related to the use of such service or property in such broadcast or such program.

(g) Penalties

Any person who violates any provision of this section shall, for each such violation, be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §507, formerly §508, as added Pub. L. 86–752, §8(b), Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 896; renumbered §507, Pub. L. 96–507, §1, Dec. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 2747.)


Editorial Notes

Prior Provisions

A prior section 507 of act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, was renumbered section 506 by section 1 of Pub. L. 96–507, and is classified to section 507 of this title.

§509. Prohibited practices in contests of knowledge, skill, or chance

(a) Influencing, prearranging, or predetermining outcome

It shall be unlawful for any person, with intent to deceive the listening or viewing public—

(1) To supply to any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill any special and secret assistance whereby the outcome of such contest will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined.

(2) By means of persuasion, bribery, intimidation, or otherwise, to induce or cause any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill to refrain in any manner from using or displaying his knowledge or skill in such contest, whereby the outcome thereof will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined.

(3) To engage in any artifice or scheme for the purpose of prearranging or predetermining in whole or in part the outcome of a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge, intellectual skill, or chance.

(4) To produce or participate in the production for broadcasting of, to broadcast or participate in the broadcasting of, to offer to a licensee for broadcasting, or to sponsor, any radio program, knowing or having reasonable ground for believing that, in connection with a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge, intellectual skill, or chance constituting any part of such program, any person has done or is going to do any act or thing referred to in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection.

(5) To conspire with any other person or persons to do any act or thing prohibited by paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of this subsection, if one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of such conspiracy.

(b) "Contest" and "the listening or viewing public" defined

For the purposes of this section—

(1) The term "contest" means any contest broadcast by a radio station in connection with which any money or any other thing of value is offered as a prize or prizes to be paid or presented by the program sponsor or by any other person or persons, as announced in the course of the broadcast.

(2) The term "the listening or viewing public" means those members of the public who, with the aid of radio receiving sets, listen to or view programs broadcast by radio stations.

(c) Penalties

Whoever violates subsection (a) shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §508, formerly §509, as added Pub. L. 86–752, §9, Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 897; renumbered §508, Pub. L. 96–507, §1, Dec. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 2747.)


Editorial Notes

Prior Provisions

A prior section 508 of act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, was renumbered section 507 by section 1 of Pub. L. 96–507, and is classified to section 508 of this title.

§510. Forfeiture of communications devices

(a) Violation with willful and knowing intent

Any electronic, electromagnetic, radio frequency, or similar device, or component thereof, used, sent, carried, manufactured, assembled, possessed, offered for sale, sold, or advertised with willful and knowing intent to violate section 301 or 302a of this title, or rules prescribed by the Commission under such sections, may be seized and forfeited to the United States.

(b) Seizure

Any property subject to forfeiture to the United States under this section may be seized by the Attorney General of the United States upon process issued pursuant to the supplemental rules for certain admiralty and maritime claims by any district court of the United States having jurisdiction over the property, except that seizure without such process may be made if the seizure is incident to a lawful arrest or search.

(c) Laws applicable to seizure and forfeiture

All provisions of law relating to—

(1) the seizure, summary and judicial forfeiture, and condemnation of property for violation of the customs laws;

(2) the disposition of such property or the proceeds from the sale thereof;

(3) the remission or mitigation of such forfeitures; and

(4) the compromise of claims with respect to such forfeitures;


shall apply to seizures and forfeitures incurred, or alleged to have been incurred, under the provisions of this section, insofar as applicable and not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, except that such seizures and forfeitures shall be limited to the communications device, devices, or components thereof.

(d) Disposition of forfeited property

Whenever property is forfeited under this section, the Attorney General of the United States may forward it to the Commission or sell any forfeited property which is not harmful to the public. The proceeds from any such sale shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury of the United States.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §510, as added Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §125, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1098.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

The supplemental rules for certain admiralty and maritime claims, referred to in subsec. (b), were renamed the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions and are set out as part of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 510, act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §510, as added May 11, 1962, Pub. L. 87–448, §1, 76 Stat. 68, related to forfeitures for violations of rules and regulations by radio stations operating in common carrier, safety and special radio fields, prior to repeal effective the thirtieth day after Feb. 21, 1978, by Pub. L. 95–234, §§4, 7, Feb. 21, 1978, 92 Stat. 35.

§511. Enhanced penalties for pirate radio broadcasting; enforcement sweeps; reporting

(a) Increased general penalty

Any person who willfully and knowingly does or causes or suffers to be done any pirate radio broadcasting shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000,000.

(b) Violation of this chapter, rules, or regulations

Any person who willfully and knowingly violates this chapter or any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by the Commission under authority of this chapter, or any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by any international radio or wire communications treaty or convention, or regulations annexed thereto, to which the United States is party, relating to pirate radio broadcasting shall, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be subject to a fine of not more than $100,000 for each day during which such offense occurs, in accordance with the limit described in subsection (a).

(c) Annual report

Not later than 1 year after January 24, 2020, and annually thereafter, the Commission shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report summarizing the implementation of this section and associated enforcement activities for the previous fiscal year, which may include the efforts by the Commission to enlist the cooperation of Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel (including United States attorneys and the United States Marshals Service) for service of process, collection of fines or forfeitures, seizures of equipment, and enforcement of orders.

(d) Enforcement sweeps

(1) Annual sweeps

Not less than once each year, the Commission shall assign appropriate enforcement personnel to focus specific and sustained attention on the elimination of pirate radio broadcasting within the top 5 radio markets identified as prevalent for such broadcasts. Such effort shall include identifying, locating, and taking enforcement actions designed to terminate such operations.

(2) Additional monitoring

Within 6 months after conducting the enforcement sweeps required by paragraph (1), the Commission shall conduct monitoring sweeps to ascertain whether the pirate radio broadcasting identified by enforcement sweeps is continuing to broadcast and whether additional pirate radio broadcasting is occurring.

(3) No effect on remaining enforcement

Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Commission shall not decrease or diminish the regular enforcement efforts targeted to pirate radio broadcast stations for other times of the year.

(e) State and local government authority

The Commission may not preempt any State or local law prohibiting pirate radio broadcasting.

(f) Revision of commission rules required

The Commission shall revise its rules to require that, absent good cause, in any case alleging a violation of subsection (a) or (b), the Commission shall proceed directly to issue a notice of apparent liability without first issuing a notice of unlicensed operation.

(g) Pirate radio broadcasting database

(1) In general

Not later than 90 days after January 24, 2020, and semi-annually thereafter, the Commission shall publish a database in a clear and legible format of all licensed radio stations operating in the AM and FM bands. The database shall be easily accessible from the Commission home page through a direct link. The database shall include the following information:

(A) Each licensed station, listed by the assigned frequency, channel number, or Commission call letters.

(B) All entities that have received a notice of unlicensed operation, notice of apparent liability, or forfeiture order issued by the Commission.

(2) Clear identification

The Commission shall clearly identify in the database—

(A) each licensed station as a station licensed by the Commission; and

(B) each entity described in paragraph (1)(B) as operating without a Commission license or authorization.

(h) Definition of pirate radio broadcasting

In this section, the term "pirate radio broadcasting" means the transmission of communications on spectrum frequencies between 535 and 1705 kilohertz, inclusive, or 87.7 and 108 megahertz, inclusive, without a license issued by the Commission, but does not include unlicensed operations in compliance with part 15 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, §511, as added Pub. L. 116–109, §2, Jan. 24, 2020, 134 Stat. 3.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.