Hollywood is known around the world for impeccably portraying events that are unlikely to take place in real life. Take the movie Olympus Has Fallen for example. Released last year, the movie revolves around a rather heroic Secret Service agent who foils guerrilla assault attempt on the White House. The film’s trailer was aired by national cable channels despite the fact that it used Emergency Alert System tones, which are only meant to be used when there really is an actual local or national emergency. The tones aren’t allowed to be used for anything else, particularly a paid advertisement, which is why the channel have been hit with an almost $2 million proposed fine.
The Federal Communications Commission has proposed that Viacom, NBCUniversal and ESPN be fined $1.93 million, $530,000 and $280,000 respectively for airing the Olympus Has Fallen trailer multiple times. FCC first received complaints about the trailer last year, after it first ran on Viacom’s Comedy Central. Soon after that broadcast groups realized the problem and the trailer was no longer aired, but the damage had been done.
The FCC holds that frivolous or casual use of EAS tones may undermine the effectiveness of the system. Pay-TV operators and broadcasters are only allowed to periodically test the Emergency Alert System tones so that they’re ready to be put to use when an actual emergency arises.
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