House Passes Bill to Raise Pirate Radio Fines

The House of Representatives has unanimously passed the “PIRATE” Act (H.R. 5709) – legislation introduced by Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) to combat illegal radio operations.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Increase fines for illegal pirate radio operation as much as $2 million for ignoring warnings to shut down a pirate station as a means for greater to deterrence and to ensure greater attention to the issue from federal law enforcement;
  • Require enforcement sweeps in radio markets with the highest concentration of illegal pirate operations;
  • Create liability for those who “knowingly” facilitate pirate operators, including property owners and businesses providing ‘physical goods or services’ to the unlicensed station; and
  • Expedite the process for shutting down an illegal station.

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