Legality of RadioReference Live Audio Broadcasts and Archives

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blantonl

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Many questions come up about the legality of our audio feeds and archives, so here is RadioReference's position on the matter.

47 USC 605 (Unauthorized Publication or Use of Communications) states in the beginning (emphasis added):

Except as authorized by chapter 119, Title 18, no person receiving, assisting in receiving, transmitting, or assisting in transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized channels of transmission or reception,......
Chapter 119, Title 18 § 2511 states:

(g) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter or chapter 121 of this title for any person--

(i) to intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured so that such electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public;

(ii) to intercept any radio communication which is transmitted--

(I) by any station for the use of the general public, or that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress;

(II) by any governmental, law enforcement, civil defense, private land mobile, or public safety communications system, including police and fire, readily accessible to the general public;

(III) by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the bands allocated to the amateur, citizens band, or general mobile radio services; or

(IV) by any marine or aeronautical communications system;

(iii) to engage in any conduct which--

(I) is prohibited by section 633 of the Communications Act of 1934; or

(II) is excepted from the application of section 705(a) of the Communications Act of 1934 by section 705(b) of that Act;

(iv) to intercept any wire or electronic communication the transmission of which is causing harmful interference to any lawfully operating station or consumer electronic equipment, to the extent necessary to identify the source of such interference; or

(v) for other users of the same frequency to intercept any radio communication made through a system that utilizes frequencies monitored by individuals engaged in the provision or the use of such system, if such communication is not scrambled or encrypted.
Chapter 119, Title 18 § 2510 defines "readily accessible to the general public" as:

(16) "readily accessible to the general public" means, with respect to a radio communication, that such communication is not--

(A) scrambled or encrypted;

(B) transmitted using modulation techniques whose essential parameters have been withheld from the public with the intention of preserving the privacy of such communication;

(C) carried on a subcarrier or other signal subsidiary to a radio transmission;

(D) transmitted over a communication system provided by a common carrier, unless the communication is a tone only paging system communication; or

(E) transmitted on frequencies allocated under part 25, subpart D, E, or F of part 74, or part 94 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission, unless, in the case of a communication transmitted on a frequency allocated under part 74 that is not exclusively allocated to broadcast auxiliary services, the communication is a two-way voice communication by radio;
So let's put it all together. Since all of our feed broadcasts and archives are not encrypted, and are public safety (Part 90 FCC Licenses), marine (ships), aircraft, or amateur radio -- disclosure of these communications is legal and they can be intercepted and divulged, since all of these communications are considered by law to be readily accessible to the general public and specifically authorized by Chapter 119, Title 18 § 2511.
 
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robsexy

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erasing archives

Are you in any relation to the former governer of tennessee ray blanton,,
Is there a way to erase the feed archives
 

webstar22

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So what happens if rr.com gets a request from either FCC or in Canada IC to shut down a feed or provider info about a feed provider. Is RR.com going to give us a heads up that a gov. agency is requesting info?
 

rdale

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That makes no sense... The FCC has no jurisdiction over shutting down a feed or provider.
 

DonS

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I'll play devil's advocate, and point out that:
1. 47 USC 605 generally prohibits divulging or publishing contents of received communications.
2. 47 USC 605 has an exception for "as authorized by chapter 119, Title 18".
3. Lindsay's quoted Chapter 119, Title 18, § 2511 says nothing about divulging or publishing - it only refers to interception.

What we really need is something in Chapter 119, Title 18 that specifies some authorization to divulge or publish.

(EDIT: my (1) and (2) above only refer to the part of 47 USC 605 quoted by Lindsay above, not to the entire chapter.)
 
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mdulrich

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3. Lindsay's quoted Chapter 119, Title 18, § 2511 says nothing about divulging or publishing - it only refers to interception.
of interstate or foreign communications. Unless you are listening to communications across state lines or from foreign countries, it doesn't apply.

Mike
 

DonS

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DonS said:
3. Lindsay's quoted Chapter 119, Title 18, § 2511 says nothing about divulging or publishing - it only refers to interception.
of interstate or foreign communications. Unless you are listening to communications across state lines or from foreign countries, it doesn't apply.
The quoted portion of section 2511 says nothing about interstate or foreign communications. Maybe you were referring to the prohibition in Lindsay's quoted part of 47 USC 605?

In any event, since the quoted part of 47 USC 605 is only referring to "any interstate or foreign communication", it's unlikely that "streamers" would be concerned about that quoted prohibition - most such streamers are not likely divulging/publishing that type of communications (the stuff they're streaming is almost certainly domestic and intrastate).

Perhaps this entire thread is moot, since the only "prohibition", as well as the subsequent "justifications", have nothing to do with what we're actually streaming.
 

w8srb

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Any reception of radio signals can be aired as long as it isn't anything that is encrypted and being decrypted to air such as pd on encryption, military ect, Signals in the air is public other wise.
 

Citywide173

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No Reply?
There is no reply, as it will never happen. The FCC doesn't really care about people streaming, which is legal (as pointed out above), and since RR is a US based company (both in incorporation and in server location), they have no legal obligation to respond to a request from Canadian officials.
 

ibagli

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That link only addresses FCC rules. The murkier laws don't have anything to do with the FCC.
 

ibagli

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The ones listed in the first post in this thread are not FCC rules. The letter from the FCC has nothing to do with them. That doesn't mean that I think it's illegal, but that letter is next to useless as proof that it's definitely legal. It's proof that it's not a violation of FCC rules and nothing more.
 
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DonS

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I would look to these sentences in 47 USC 605 (a section which is not, I think, part of the FCC rules - so an FCC letter has no meaning):

No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person. [...] No person having received any intercepted radio communication or having become acquainted with the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) knowing that such communication was intercepted, shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) or use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. This section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or utilizing the contents of any radio communication which is transmitted by any station for the use of the general public, which relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a citizens band radio operator.
(emphasis added)

Playing devil's advocate again:
  • I would argue that the "exception" listed at the start of 47 USC 605 only applies to the sentence in which the exception appears (i.e. relating to interstate and foreign comms) - not to the above quoted text.
  • I would also argue that, absent some statutory definition, "for the use of the general public" above is not the same as "readily accessible to the general public". While public safety comms are usually "readily accessible to", they're not necessarily "for the use of" the general public, so the "shall not apply" in the last sentence above is not necessarily applicable to public safety comms.
  • Making a "stream" available is "divulging or publishing"
  • If the above quoted sentences of 47 USC 605 are to be followed/believed, then we need some other statutory exception somewhere, one which unambiguously says "divulging or publishing intercepted domestic/intrastate, Part 90, public safety communications is OK".

I have streams available, so I hope I'm wrong. I hope somebody can provide statutory evidence that contradicts (and supercedes) the above.
 

PeterGV

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...
I have streams available, so I hope I'm wrong. I hope somebody can provide statutory evidence that contradicts (and supercedes) the above.
Interesting topic.

Let me modify DonS request: I hope somebody can provide a legal opinion that contradicts the above. From a communications lawyer.

Time to call K&L Gates again, Lindsay?

Peter
K1PGV
 

DonS

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Interesting topic.

Let me modify DonS request: I hope somebody can provide a legal opinion that contradicts the above. From a communications lawyer.

Time to call K&L Gates again, Lindsay?
I hope I'm reading too much into PeterGV's post: I certainly hope Lindsay didn't pay counsel for the opinion listed in the first post of this thread. The so-called "exception" described in that post ("Chapter 119, Title 18 § 2511") says nothing about divulging or publishing; it only talks about interception, which, I think, everyone will readily agree is permissible with regard to [EDIT: unencrypted] Part 90 public safety communications.
 
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