Senate Committee Passes PIRATE Act


At a snail’s pace, the United States government appears to be heading in the direction of giving the FCC more tools to fight pirate radio operators. You would think if there was one “no-brainer” issue that could pass quickly it would be this one. But not in Washington.

On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee finally passed The Pirate Act, three months after the House passed it. The full Senate still needs to vote on the bill and, if approved, the President would need to sign it.

The Pirate Act increases fines for illegal pirate operations from $10,000 per violation to $100,000 per day per violation, up to a maximum of $2,000,000, and streamlines the FCC’s enforcement.

NAB CEO Gordon Smith thanked the Senate Commerce Committee. “The bill would better equip the FCC to combat pirate radio operations that interfere with legal broadcasts and pose a threat to air traffic control communications. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Daines and Peters on this issue and strongly urge Senate passage of the PIRATE Act.”

New York State is hit especially hit hard by pirate operators. New York State Broadcasters Association President David Donavan was also thankful the Senate Committee passed the PIRATE Act Wednesday and urged the full Senate to move quickly to pass the bill.


  1. The thing about this bill that is a no brainer is it’s useless. Has anyone even read what this bill does for benefiting pirate control? It’s really plain idiotic. Increasing fines to 2 million. Who would pay it? Pirates don’t pay the standard range of fines, what are they gonna do, beat it out of them? Annual report. Doesn’t the FCC already do this in a sense? Are they not already allowed to publish what enforcement’s they have done? Annual sweeps. Does the FCC not already have authority to do this? From what I had learned they were too lazy to do it. It’s not that they needed congress the give them authority. Additional monitoring. So what does the FCC do on their spare time? Sit and twiddle diddle their thumbs? Again, this gives appearance they need permission to take a leak in their own pot. State and local government authority. State and local Governments have already tried this. Simply put, they are not equipped nor do they have intelligence without FCC help to enforce local and state regulations. Look at NYC, NJ, MA & FL. And finally, no later then 90 days, the FCC shall make a database of all legal and illegal radio stations. So what is radio locator for? Does the FCC not yet have authority to make a new database? I don’t see any new tools at all in this bill. 90% at least is asking for congress’s permission to use their own facilities.


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