ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sometimes pirates are more than just nusiances

Instapundit links to an article from Jesse Walker from the Competitive Enterprise Institute where he lambasts state legislatures for making the operation of a unlicensed radio station a felony:

In the state of Florida, operating an unlicensed radio station—already a federal misdemeanor—is now a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, under a law in effect since July 2004.
Now normally I'm not one for loose legal language as specified in the article, and he certainly makes the point that at first glance it may appear that the state is overstepping its bounds.

This statement, however:
Disproportionate Penalties. For the most part, unlicensed broadcasting is a victimless crime. When there is a victim—when a pirate signal interferes with somebody else's transmission—it's the rough equivalent of the neighbor whose trash spills out of his garbage can and attracts some pests to your yard. It's a nuisance, but it doesn't merit five years in jail.

brought into mind another article that highlights a very specific victim.

Pirate Stations Invade Crowded Aviation Airwaves

By Mary Grady
Newswriter, Editor

As if the radio frequencies weren't already busy enough, now pirate radio stations in Florida are interfering with aviation communications. "It's a nightmare," Jim Marinitti, president of the Miami Tower branch of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Monday. For the last month, pilots have been hearing hip-hop tunes and Haitian music instead of clearances and callbacks. Police traced the signal of a radio station that calls itself Da Streetz to a warehouse with an antenna, but nobody was there. Audio broadcasting equipment was confiscated, but the music has kept on playing. "It's sporadic, but it always seems to happen at the most inopportune time, as soon as traffic starts to pick up," Marinitti said.

The solution is to reduce the licensing complexity of radio, especially for low power radio, not to excuse pirate operations.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian