FCC proposes $2.5 million forfeiture from Houston cable system

The FCC proposed a $2.25 million forfeiture June 24 by Houston-based cable system TV Max for retransmitting the signals of six TV stations without consent.

According to an FCC statement, the Media Bureau began investigating TV Max, which does business as Wavevision, after receiving complaints from four television broadcasters who alleged the cable system was retransmitting their signals without permission.

In proposing the forfeiture, the commission rejected an argument by TV Max that it was not required to obtain the permission of the broadcasters because of the so-called MATV exception, which allows cable operators in limited circumstances to retransmit broadcast signals received by a master antenna to residents of a building without first obtaining permission from broadcasters.

The FCC, however, said the MATV exception isn’t applicable to TV Max because it is receiving and retransmitting the broadcast signals at an off-site cable head-end.