Legality of retransmitting public service comm. on FM

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user422

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Is it legal in the US to scan police/fire/ems then retransmit on an available FM frequency? The goal would be to provide my local area with open access to these transmissions. Streaming online would be nice but not nearly as convenient for most people and also not mobile.
 

burner50

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No it is not as you do not have a license to transmit on FM, nor do the people that you're re-transmitting
 

n1das

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No it is not as you do not have a license to transmit on FM, nor do the people that you're re-transmitting
Public Safety commuincations are operating in FCC-licensed radio services under Part 90 rules and they ARE licensed.

I think the short answer to the OP's question is NO:

- Unlicensed operation on FM broadcast frequencies.

- Divulging/publishing aka beneficially using communcations not intended to be broadcasts to the general public (i.e., directed, non-broadcast transmissions), prohibited under Section 705(a) (formerly Section 605(a)) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. IOW, you're rebroadcasting/divulging communications that specifically weren't meant for YOU. Listen all you want but keep what you hear to yourself if you're not the intended recipient. Like with streaming audio online, it may be a bit of a gray area.
 
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N4DES

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And you probably don't want to get a letter in the mail like this one that could include a fine:

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-294571A1.html

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2009/DA-09-2365A1.html

On August 18, 2009, the Tampa Office issued a Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture to Mr. Grover in the amount of ten thousand
dollars ($10,000), for the apparent willful and repeated violation of
Section 301 of the Act. Mr. Grover submitted a response to the NAL
requesting reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
 
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gewecke

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Is it legal in the US to scan police/fire/ems then retransmit on an available FM frequency? The goal would be to provide my local area with open access to these transmissions. Streaming online would be nice but not nearly as convenient for most people and also not mobile.
This would NOT be a wise idea!
N9ZAS
 

KC9NCF

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Public Safety commuincations are operating in FCC-licensed radio services under Part 90 rules and they ARE licensed.

I think the short answer to the OP's question is NO:

- Unlicensed operation on FM broadcast frequencies.

- Divulging/publishing aka beneficially using communcations not intended to be broadcasts to the general public (i.e., directed, non-broadcast transmissions), prohibited under Section 705(a) (formerly Section 605(a)) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. IOW, you're rebroadcasting/divulging communications that specifically weren't meant for YOU. Listen all you want but keep what you hear to yourself if you're not the intended recipient. Like with streaming audio online, it may be a bit of a gray area.
I want to challenge your "on-line streaming" being a grey area. It could be argued that on-line streaming is just another mode/method of remotely operating a monitoring station. You are correct though, that a scanner is not the "intended recipient" but rather, works to receive signals incidentally. I brought up this issue with the I-Phone application which streams CPD radios through the I-Phone as a reception device.

I did this to play devil's advocate and got trashed for it. Just like another poster in a thread here on RR recently made a comment about licensing scanner possession. My idea in that context was to try and protect our right for our government to be more transparent to us citizens, but that also brought up heated concerns with good reason. All of the replies were well founded by everyone. With these new systems on the market available such as cannot be detected / monitored, we should be concerned because it creates a situation where we are being watched but we cannot watch right back.

Our listening is a privilege, and if I had my way it would be an absolute right so long as it wasn't used for criminal behavior. A thread here referenced some idiot who dressed like an offender and got noticed. This took away valuable resources, time, and the bad guy might have even gotten away because of this stunt.
I would really research your idea to re-transmit that signal by hiring a good attorney who specializes in communications law. For now, I would simply not do it.
 

RKG

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- Divulging/publishing aka beneficially using communcations not intended to be broadcasts to the general public (i.e., directed, non-broadcast transmissions), prohibited under Section 705(a) (formerly Section 605(a)) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. IOW, you're rebroadcasting/divulging communications that specifically weren't meant for YOU. Listen all you want but keep what you hear to yourself if you're not the intended recipient. Like with streaming audio online, it may be a bit of a gray area.
Section 705 (nee 605) was repealed insofar as it might have applied to Part 90 transmissions in the clear, by section 2511 of the Safe Streets Act of 1968. See United States v. Rose, 669 F.2d 23, 26-27 (1st Cir. 1982).
 
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DaveNF2G

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If your reading of the Rose case is accurate, then it only affects the First Circuit (New England and Puerto Rico). Did you Shepardize the case to make sure that it hasn't been clarified or invalidated during the past 18 years?
 

abross

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Well here is different situation that I have a question about. What if I were to take a radio/scanner (for fire/ems) that is trunked and digital (making it harder for many people to listen in without more expensive equipment), and I were to retransmit this on a frequency that my county 'assigned' to my department for use in any way we want. This frequency is in the 150 MHz range. Would this be considered a violation? Thanks.
 

prcguy

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I believe you can legally do this with a part 15 transmitter in the FM broadcast band, over a baby monitor or whatever band the part 15 device transmits on. No license is required for the part 15 transmitter and there should be no regulation of what content is broadcast over it..
prcguy
 

burner50

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Public Safety commuincations are operating in FCC-licensed radio services under Part 90 rules and they ARE licensed.

I think the short answer to the OP's question is NO:

- Unlicensed operation on FM broadcast frequencies.

- Divulging/publishing aka beneficially using communcations not intended to be broadcasts to the general public (i.e., directed, non-broadcast transmissions), prohibited under Section 705(a) (formerly Section 605(a)) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. IOW, you're rebroadcasting/divulging communications that specifically weren't meant for YOU. Listen all you want but keep what you hear to yourself if you're not the intended recipient. Like with streaming audio online, it may be a bit of a gray area.

Thanks for molesting my quote...


I meant that the people he was re-transmitting do not have licenses in the FM Broadcast band.
 

kb2vxa

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The people being retransmitted don't need licenses to transmit on the frequency of retransmission regardless of it's frequency, they're not the ones operating that transmitter. That's like licensing everyone who phones in a radio talk show, they're on the air but someone else is operating the transmitter.

Abross, "any way we want" is not a blanket privilege, Alabama is right, most likely someone somewhere would violate some hidden agreement and really tick someone off. I don't know where your notion came from but it's pretty much guaranteed to be in error, nobody just gives carte blanche and says "here, do what you want with it", that's suicide by FCC.

Back to the OP; Part 15 or not I really wouldn't put police calls on any broadcast frequency, undoubtedly it would raise some eyebrows and possibly lead to trouble. Always remember the law of unintended consequences and tread with caution. Your best bet is the suggested baby monitor approach, you can listen remotely all you want without raising suspicions.

What's the radio code for suspected terrorist activity in your area? (;->)
 

gewecke

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How much common sense is required here,to understand that this is NOT to be done? ...Period.
But then again,someone has to go and push the button.:evil:
Stupid is as stupid does I guess.:roll:
N9ZAS
 

mikepdx

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I believe you can legally do this with a part 15 transmitter in the FM broadcast band, over a baby monitor or whatever band the part 15 device transmits on. No license is required for the part 15 transmitter and there should be no regulation of what content is broadcast over it..
prcguy
You are 100% correct, prcguy. There is NO reglation of content.
Just be sure you're compliant under Part 15 rules.

Ignore the 'nervous nellies', the sky (the FCC) wont fall on you.
As for 'raised eyebrows'? So be it.
 
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rvictor

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I hope the OP understands that free legal advice on the Internet is worth what he pays for it.

While attorneys are expensive, it is generally more expensive to get you out of trouble than to advise you how to stay out of such trouble.

This is a complex area of law with expensive consequences for improper activities. If seriously contemplating setting up a broadcast service for members of the public to listen to public service transmissions, it would be wise to obtain professional advice before proceeding.

Dick
 

kb2vxa

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"Ignore the 'nervous nellies', the sky (the FCC) wont fall on you."
Somebody doesn't understand euphemism, oh well.

"As for 'raised eyebrows'? So be it."
So be what? Raised eyebrows are only the beginning, you don't seem to understand today's political climate, the politics of fear. One thing always leads to another and who knows where it will end?

Pandora was warned not to open the box and you tell her never mind, go right ahead? This is beginning to look more like the tale of the serpent and the apple the longer it drags on.

"I hope the OP understands that free legal advice on the Internet is worth what he pays for it."
WHAT "legal advice"? We're talking well known FCC rules and regs here plus a dose of common sense that is obviously lacking in this thread.

"While attorneys are expensive, it is generally more expensive to get you out of trouble than to advise you how to stay out of such trouble."
Our point entirely in a nut shell, our advice is stay out of trouble and save the expense altogether.

"This is a complex area of law with expensive consequences for improper activities."
The law of unintended consequences isn't all that hard to understand, for most people.

"If seriously contemplating setting up a broadcast service for members of the public to listen to public service transmissions, it would be wise to obtain professional advice before proceeding."
Oh really? Cummon now, you don't need a lawyer to explain the words "unintended consequences". Just don't do it if you wish to avoid unpleasant surprises when casual dial twisters start wondering what's going on and it becomes the usual case of "I'm calling the cops!"

This can all be summed up with a simple, common sense rule; when in doubt, don't. Proper advice was given, the horse is dead and I'm out of here as it's beginning to stink.
 
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rvictor

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"Ignore the 'nervous nellies', the sky (the FCC) wont fall on you."
Somebody doesn't understand euphemism, oh well.

"As for 'raised eyebrows'? So be it."
So be what? Raised eyebrows are only the beginning, you don't seem to understand today's political climate, the politics of fear. One thing always leads to another and who knows where it will end?

Pandora was warned not to open the box and you tell her never mind, go right ahead? This is beginning to look more like the tale of the serpent and the apple the longer it drags on.

"I hope the OP understands that free legal advice on the Internet is worth what he pays for it."
WHAT "legal advice"? We're talking well known FCC rules and regs here plus a dose of common sense that is obviously lacking in this thread.

"While attorneys are expensive, it is generally more expensive to get you out of trouble than to advise you how to stay out of such trouble."
Our point entirely in a nut shell, our advice is stay out of trouble and save the expense altogether.

"This is a complex area of law with expensive consequences for improper activities."
The law of unintended consequences isn't all that hard to understand, for most people.

"If seriously contemplating setting up a broadcast service for members of the public to listen to public service transmissions, it would be wise to obtain professional advice before proceeding."
Oh really? Cummon now, you don't need a lawyer to explain the words "unintended consequences". Just don't do it if you wish to avoid unpleasant surprises when casual dial twisters start wondering what's going on and it becomes the usual case of "I'm calling the cops!"

This can all be summed up with a simple, common sense rule; when in doubt, don't. Proper advice was given, the horse is dead and I'm out of here as it's beginning to stink.
Sometimes people don't want the answer to be "NO". There may be ways that they can do what they want to do and stay within the law. To tell everyone to just not "do it" begs the question. The OP undoubtedly knows that he won't get in trouble if he just doesn't do it. He wants to know whether he can and for that he may need competent legal advice. If he doesn't want to know that badly, then you and I might actually agree that he shouldn't do it.

I've had many clients that wanted to do something badly enough to ask me whether they could do so legally. In many cases I was able to come up with a way for them to do legally what they wanted to do. It may have required some changes in the original plan, but many considered it to be a satisfactory solution. I could have just said "NO", but that wouldn't have provided them much of a service. Of course there were also cases where the answer was "NO" because there were no reasonable alternatives which would make the plan legal.

Dick
 

RKG

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If your reading of the Rose case is accurate, then it only affects the First Circuit (New England and Puerto Rico). Did you Shepardize the case to make sure that it hasn't been clarified or invalidated during the past 18 years?
Yes, of course.

Moreover, every Court of Appeals that has ruled on this issue has reached the same conclusion.
 
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