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FCC Opens Proceeding to Enact Political AI Rules

Last week, FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel announced that she would open a proceeding to enact labeling rules for broadcasters regarding political AI. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would be voted by the FCC on “circulation.” This is a common procedure where each commissioner votes independently, but without holding a meeting. According to Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s press release, the proposal would aim to increase transparency by:

  • Seeking comment on whether to require an on-air disclosure and written disclosure in broadcasters’ political files when there is AI-generated content in political ads,

  • Proposing to apply the disclosure rules to both candidate and issue advertisements,

  • Requesting comment on a specific definition of AI-generated content, and

  • Proposing to apply the disclosure requirements to broadcasters and entities that engage in

origination programming, including cable operators, satellite TV and radio providers, and

section 325(c) permittees.


Importantly, the proposed rules would not seek to prohibit such content, only the disclosure of any AI-generated content within political ads.


The proposed rules drew a sharp rebuke from FCC Commissioner Brenden Carr. In a separate statement, he said:

“There is no doubt that the increase in AI-generated political content presents complex questions, and there is bipartisan concern about the potential for misuse,” Carr said. “But none of this vests the FCC with the authority it claims here. Indeed, the Federal Election Commission is actively considering these types of issues, and legislators in Congress are as well. But Congress has not given the FCC the type of freewheeling authority over these issues that would be necessary to turn this plan into law.”

He also stated that the FCC should not be changing the rules of the road in the middle of an election. He noted that new rules would simply “muddy the waters.” Despite these objections, we assume Chairwoman Rosenworcel has the necessary 3 (democratic) votes to move forward with the new regulations. 


This proceeding raises many of the same issues we are now confronting as part of the recent New York political AI law. How can stations be responsible for the use of AI in political ads if they are unable to detect it? That is the fundamental question in play.

While we are working to correct the recently passed New York law, the FCC proposal adds another layer of complexity. The FCC’s proposal raises the possibility of a conflict between federal and state law. We are working hard to make sure stations are not caught in the middle.

You can see Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s press release here.

Read Commissioner Carr’s statement here.

You can see an article on the subject by noted communications attorney David Oxenford here.



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