The Union’s description of commercial speech mistaken |

The Union’s description of commercial speech mistaken

The Union made a mistake in its description of commercial speech as “prohibits mentioning the price of a product (even if it is free) and issuing a ‘call for action’ (such as offering a free sample). But it allows logos or slogans, location information, value-neutral descriptions of a product or service, and brand names. ” This is a common mistake made with the best of intentions.

The actual definition of commercial speech for private producers (not the station itself, which is a nonprofit ) is as follows from Section 399b: “For purposes of this section, the term ‘advertisement’ means any message or other programming material which is broadcast or otherwise transmitted in exchange for any remuneration, and which is intended.

“(1) to promote any service, facility, or product offered by any person who is engaged in such offering for profit;

“(2) to express the views of any person with respect to any matter of public importance or interest; or

“(3) to support or oppose any candidate for political office.”

The definition that The Union mentioned, quite well in fact, is referred in the FCC document as paragraph 2 and is in fact a guideline for the nonprofit stations underwriting, not for producers of content.

We are not, as is The Union, a private commercial entity, but a group protecting a non-commercial public resource. We do not expect The Union to know these facts, but we do expect any board member of a community access station to know them.

Steven Gorman

Grass Valley

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