Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued an Enforcement Advisory reminding manufacturers, importers, and retailers of video TV set-top boxes that stream Internet-based content to comply with FCC device authorization rules.  As the FCC noted in its Advisory, violations of these rules can lead to monetary penalties totaling more than $19,000 per day of violation or $147,000 for an ongoing violation.  The Advisory noted that to avoid these penalties, entities that manufacture, import, market or operate these set-top boxes should ensure that they comply with FCC device authorization rules.

The FCC device authorization rules that are applicable to set-top boxes can be found in Parts 2 and 15 of the FCC’s rules, which govern certain radiofrequency devices.  These rules include procedures for securing device authorization, which is required before radiofrequency devices can be imported, advertised, sold, or operated in the U.S.  These rules also require these devices to adhere to certain labeling and disclosure requirements before being marketed in the U.S.  The FCC’s device authorization rules ensure that radiofrequency devices avoid harmful interference to other authorized devices, services and operations.

The FCC’s Enforcement Advisory identified the specific rules with which these set-top boxes must comply.