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FCC Candidate Gigi Sohn Says She Will Recuse Herself from Broadcast Copyright, Retrans Issues

Public Knowledge
(Image credit: Public Knowledge)

WASHINGTON—Gigi Sohn, the Democratic nominee for the FCC told the commission this week that she would recuse herself from television broadcast copyright and retrans issues if her nomination for commissioner is approved. 

Sohn’s nomination has garnered some pushback from broadcasters who object to her role as a member of the board of Locast, a streaming service that was found by a court to violate broadcast copyright laws. In add

In a letter to acting FCC general counsel Michelle Ellison and obtained by TV Tech sister publication NextTV, Sohn said the recusal would last for the first three years of her term, but that she would not recuse herself from other media related issues such as media ownership or transfer of control of broadcast, cable, and satellite companies.

Sohn told Ellison that in 2010, as president of Public Knowledge, she signed a Petition for Rulemaking to change rules governing retransmission rules and that in order “to avoid any appearance of impropriety and in interest of ensuring that the public has full confidence that policymakers will make decisions free of bias,” she would voluntarily recuse herself when the FCC considered retrans and broadcast copyright issues. 

The NAB welcomed Sohn’s decision. 

"Ms. Sohn’s recusal agreement resolves the concerns NAB raised regarding her nomination. NAB appreciates Ms. Sohn's willingness to seriously consider our issues regarding retransmission consent and broadcast copyright, and to address those concerns in her recusal. We look forward to the Senate moving forward with Ms. Sohn’s confirmation and are eager to work with her and the full complement of commissioners in the very near future,” said NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt.

The Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote on Sohn's nomination next week. 

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.