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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2020 » April » 22

FCC Denies Application of Hoax Rule to Trump Press Conferences on COVID-19 – Looking at the First Amendment and the Commission’s Regulation of Political Speech

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 22 Apr 2020 5:29 pm

Recently, FCC staff dismissed a request by the organization Free Press asking the FCC to investigate the broadcast of the President’s press conferences on the coronavirus and programs where commentators supported the President’s pronouncements.  In addition to an investigation, the request asked that the FCC require that broadcasters “prominently disclose when information they air is false or scientifically suspect” in relation to these press conferences and other broadcasts.   Free Press suggested that the FCC had the authority to take this action under its broad mandate to regulate in the public interest.  It also cited the FCC’s hoax rule as providing support for such an action.  As we have written before, the hoax rule is designed to prevent broadcasts that pose the risk of imminent harm to the public by potentially tying up first responders and emergency response teams for purported disasters and crimes that are not real.  FCC staff dismissed the Free Press complaint, finding that the FCC is forbidden by Section 326 of the Communications Act from censoring the speech of broadcasters or otherwise abridging their freedom of speech.  These First Amendment principles largely keep the FCC out of content regulation (with the limited exceptions of regulation in areas like indecency, obscenity and sponsorship identification where the message is not being censored, just certain means of expression).

In the Free Press decision, the FCC concluded that, in covering a breaking news story like the pandemic, it would be impossible for a broadcaster to fact check every statement made in a press conference and correct any misstatements in anything approaching real time, as there is so much room for interpretation of any statement made on these ongoing matters.  It would also be impossible for the FCC to police any such mandate without trampling on First Amendment principles, as it would require the FCC to become the arbiter of the truth for many claims made on television.  The FCC declined to take on that role, and noted that the hoax rule is narrowly drawn to avoid these First Amendment issues.  That rule only punishes clearly false broadcasts that could foreseeably tie up first responders or cause substantial public harm.  It does not get the FCC involved in evaluations of the truth of political statements and policy pronouncements.  This is a position that has consistently been taken by the FCC, and one that we often see misstated in connection with demands for the take-down of issue advertising and non-candidate political attack ads.

In fact, two Democratic members of Congress recently wrote to Chairman Pai asking that he make explicit the FCC’s policy of not interfering in political speech.  They wrote in connection with take-down notices recently sent to broadcast stations from a PAC affiliated with the President, with the PAC arguing that broadcasters have potential FCC liability for allegedly false statements made in an issue ad attacking the President on his handling of the coronavirus.  The members of Congress, in their letter to Chairman Pai, asked that he release a statement that the FCC would not get involved in assessing the truth or falsity of political speech.  In a response issued at the end of last week, here, the Chairman seemingly agreed that the FCC will stay out of any assessments of political speech.  The Chairman further challenged the Congressmen, to be consistent, to issue a statement condemning Free Press’ attempts to get the FCC into content regulation.

While the exchange in these communications may seem political, it actually reflects a consistent theme of the FCC over the years to avoid the appearance of censoring broadcast programming decisions.  We have written many times about how the FCC sees the First Amendment and Section 326 as generally restricting its ability to get into any sort of content regulation.  This consistent theme has run through decisions in a variety of areas.  See, for instance our article here on the FCC’s reluctance to get involved in assessing the truth of attacks made in political ads; our articles here and here on the FCC’s policy that it does not regulate the format of broadcast stations; the FCC’s decision to end enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine (see our article here); its denial of previous requests that it penalize a licensee for allegedly airing fake news reports (see our article here); and its decisions to not substitute its judgement for that of the licensee in cases where the FCC was asked to deny renewal applications based on a petitioner’s assessment that the programming selected by the licensee did not best serve the public interest (see our article here).

The First Amendment limitations on content regulation is different than that reflected in broadcast policies in many other countries, where there are often strict limits on format changes, tight limits on political debate, and enforced fairness on the airwaves.  See for instance my article here where I wrote about international broadcast regulatory schemes after spending time meeting with broadcasters and regulators in an eastern European country in the process of revising its media laws.  The US system has created a diverse, competitive media landscape with minimal regulatory intervention by the government.  These recent communications by the FCC, indicating that it intends to keep limited its intervention in questions of a licensee’s choice of broadcast content, provide welcome consistency in these confusing times.

How Modern Fanzines are Giving a Voice to Underrepresented Scenes

Delivered... Caroline Whiteley | Scene | Wed 22 Apr 2020 4:37 pm

It’s safe to say the last few years haven’t been great for music and culture journalism. In 2018, German techno institution Groove discontinued its print issue – last year, the UK giant NME folded, as well as Tinymixtapes and Drowned in Sound. Red Bull Music Academy and its online magazine “The Daily” was put to rest by Red Bull at the end of 2019, and earlier this year, FACT announced it would...


Free modular: open source Mutable Instruments ports expanded in VCV Rack

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 22 Apr 2020 12:18 pm

As the TV car ads say – no money? No problem. VCV Rack can get you into some extraordinarily deep sound making for free. And thanks to a crowd funding effort, what’s available in the Audible Instruments range has expanded.

There’s a bunch of new stuff in the world of Rack for synth lovers. Here’s the latest round-up.

More modules

VCV Rack is a free, open source platform for Mac, Windows, and Linux that emulates a Eurorack modular setup, with support for free and paid modules. And it does some things physical hardware can’t do – well, unless you have magic powers that let you summon unlimited numbers of modules out of thin air and recall previous states in an instant. Thanks, software!

Module makers are regularly updating their stuff, so you’ll see a friendly red dot appear in the menu that tells you there’s new stuff to download. And there’s been lots of activity lately, especially from developers like Vult ( Leonardo Laguna Ruiz), Bogaudio, Impromptu, Count Modula, and others. (I recommend that batch right now, in fact – trust me.)

But two recent developments from VCV themselves merit mention.

A new Library

First, with all that healthy module ecosystem growth, recently the Library feature got a major refresh. Rack uses a browser-based system for finding and managing your module collection, called the Library. From the browser, you can find and install modules, purchase paid modules, and deselect modules you don’t want any more to declutter your collection. Log in to Rack on any OS, and your collection of modules is immediately available anywhere. (For instance, I regularly boot between an Ubuntu and Windows partition; modules automatically appear in both places. Install your Rack files on a connected drive like Dropbox, and your whole modular studio can live in the cloud.)


The old interface looked like a big spreadsheet, and was dull and a little challenging to navigate. The new interface is graphical, and lets you quickly look at just premium paid modules, or just free or open source modules, or jump to particular makers or tags.

Search quickly for premium (great stuff to buy in there), free and open source (or not), or by tag, brand, and more.

Audible Instruments expanded

Audible Instruments is the set of modules based on the popular Mutable Insturments line of open source modular hardware. It’s not an official Mutable Instruments project (hence the name); it’s developed by VCV, but complies with Mutable’s open source GPLv3 license. It does show the power of open source tech, and may make you want some of Mutable’s hardware even more.

We got a one-two punch of Audible updates recently.

The big one is, Mutable Instruments Ripples got ported as Audible Instruments Liquid Filter, thanks to a crowd funding campaign. It’s a beautiful model of the filter, and as usual, you get a ton of features in a clear, minimal panel.

Mutable made this filter analog, so it’s worth checking the original module – a connection to the Shruthi synth lineage here.


Macro Oscillator 2 is now polyphonic. That’s huge news; this powerful oscillator really feels like a dozen or two modules in one space. There are eight pitched and eight percussive models, and a built-in low-pass gate in this single module. You can then make some extraordinary polyphonic patches using something like the excellent Sensel Morph MPE-compatible hardware – add a Buchla Thunder overlay and go to town.


and the original – https://mutable-instruments.net/modules/plaits/

Check the full Audible Instruments page:


Great modules to buy, too

Free stuff is great – especially because it allows Rack to be a tool for collaboration and teaching in a way other environments can’t. But developers need support. That’s why it’s encouraging that crowd funding enabled Liquid Filter, and why hopefully software modules with hardware equivalents (from Mutable Instruments to Befaco, Erica Synths and others) will encourage sales of the real gear.

I’ve been happy to buy software modules in Rack, partly because the instant gratification is great – and there’s some beautiful stuff to buy. I find I actually even enjoy purchasing this stuff – that combination of consumer satisfaction with musical inspiration with knowing you support the developers.

One way to support Rack itself is buying the proprietary modules developed by its creator, Andrew Belt. These modules appear under the VCV name. Must-have modules for me include Console, a performance-friendly mixer, and Router, a superb set of three routing modules:


There’s some interesting new stuff out now from third-party developers. I already want to check out Unfiltered Audio’s new frequency and amplitude splitters, for instance.

For anyone feeling conflicted about saving money on a Minimoog from a certain clone hardware maker, let me present the Mockba Modular Model V – because you can’t beat US$20 as a price.

I recently bought the beautiful Stellare Modular Creative Suite, which comes with some wild options for organic modulation and sequencing.

And what’s this? cf now has a sample-based drum machine conveniently mapped to a numeric keypad? Well, I’ll take one of those and, please, some kind of weird mechanical keyboard kit! (Hmm, someone in Germany must be shipping now.)


Fiddling around with Rack I find endlessly inspiring. And there’s something grounding about having idiosyncratic, hardware-style modules as your building blocks – like having someone else’s personality staring back at you. Happy synth-ing to you! And let us know if there’s more we might cover in the world of Rack.


The post Free modular: open source Mutable Instruments ports expanded in VCV Rack appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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