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Judges mull tilting FCC dish rule

Federal judges Monday examined whether they should make an FCC rule allowing office building and apartment tenants to place satellite dishes and TV antennas on property they lease a little more favorable to landlords.

Landlords are asking the judges to overturn the rule, but the judges questioned whether the rules can be preserved in way that doesn't violate owners' property rights. One idea they may consider: allow landlords to raise rents to compensate for the loss of control over properties.

"There's nothing unconstitutional about a taking" of property, said Judge Raymond Randolph. "The only thing unconstitutional is if you don't pay for it."

Matthew Ames, attorney for the landlords, noted, however, the FCC currently prohibits even a nominal $5 application fee that some landlords tried to impose on tenants installing satellite dishes.
- Bill McConnell