* Posts by Gavin Lawrence

1 publicly visible post • joined 1 Apr 2008

Ofcom wins pirate radio components case

Gavin Lawrence

Ofcom Press Release Appears Misleading

The wording of Ofcom's Press Release is a little mis-leading and omits the judges comment in summing up which stated: "Broadcast Warehouse is a professional company that is not responsible for any interference caused by other individuals misusing its products"

A statement from Broadcast Warehouse directors published elsewhere clarifies the situation and points out that the legislation used in this case has traditionally only been applied to finished products rather than components (i.e. Ofcom has a view that bare printed circuit boards should carry a CE mark rather than just finished equipment). All BWs finished equipment does bare CE marks, the bare PCBs - designed to be professionally incorporated into apparatus by OEMs didn't.

Having taken the time to read through the guidance notes for CE Marking / EMC directives on the European Commissions web site, the commissions guidance is that the end-user responsible for inserting the PCBs in a case and producing finished apparatus are the ones responsible for CE marking (as indeed BW does with its finished, rack mounted equipment).

The evidence from the EC web site would appear to make a compelling defence, but that evidence doesn't appear to have been presented/argued in court - probably for commercial reasons which no doubt led the directors to enter a guilty plea rather than risk increased legal costs.

Ofcom - while highlighting this as a 'major case' - fails to include in their press release that the number of pieces of equipment that they have siezed containing non-CE marked components manfactured by BW is tiny and thus if this was an attempt to reduce the number of illegal broadcasters is probably negligible.

Given that Ofcom is commissioning BW equipment on a weekly basis and that BW is on the official suppliers list, it's actually more likely that the only effect here is that more illegal broadcasters will be sourcing broadcasting equipment that is MORE likely to create interference.