$22,000 FCC Fine for Failure to Broadcast All Material Rules for a Station Online Contest

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
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The FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing a $22,000 fine for a contest to win a car conducted by a cluster of five stations. The contest (the award of a car to the entrant who produced the best commercial for the car, as voted on by website users) was conducted principally through the stations' websites. But the stations did promote the fact that the contest was being conducted on the air. A disappointed contestant accused the licensee of rigging the contest by awarding the prize to a friend of a station employee for a video that was entered after the official end of the contest. The FCC totally rejected the basis of the complaint (finding no basis for the conclusion that favoritism had been shown - especially as voting for the winner was done by website visitors, not station employees). Nevertheless, the FCC proposed the $22,000 fine for the failure to broadcast all of the material rules of the contest on the air.

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