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Mouse Grouse: Kids Rules Hurt

In the latest round in the fight over changes to the FCC children's TV rules, Disney told the D.C. appeals court that there are two "compelling reasons why it should grant Disney's petitoin to either force the FCC to rule on challenges to the changes, or enjoin enforcement of the rules, which are to take effect Jan. 1.

First, said Disney, if the rules take effect, the company will suffer "irreparable injury." Second, the FCC is to blame for Disney's predicament because it failed to give the company notice that it was going to issue rules "of this nature," then failed to decide the petitions when Disney asked it to reconsider them.

The FCC came out with the rules last fall, which were billed as new rules of the road of digital broadcasting, but also included changes that apply to analog broadcasting and to cable.

The rule changes included classifying show promotions and Web addresses for non-educational programs or content as ad material, subject to existing limits on ads in kids shows.

The FCC, in its own response to the court last week, asked it to deny the Disney petition, saying it had less than seven months to review the complicated arguments, "far short of the 'unjustifiable' delay" the court has held might warrant mandamus relief."

Plus, it said, the rules themselves are narrowly tailored to further the "well established interest in promoting and protecting the well-being of children."

Disney, Viacom and otherschallenged the rules as unconstitional, unworkable, and a threat to the economics of producing children's programming.