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47 U.S. Code § 504 - Forfeitures

(a) Recovery

The forfeitures provided for in this chapter shall be payable into the Treasury of the United States, and shall be recoverable, except as otherwise provided with respect to a forfeiture penalty determined under section 503(b)(3) of this title, in a civil suit in the name of the United States brought in the district where the person or carrier has its principal operating office or in any district through which the line or system of the carrier runs: Provided, That any suit for the recovery of a forfeiture imposed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be a trial de novo: Provided further, That in the case of forfeiture by a ship, said forfeiture may also be recoverable by way of libel in any district in which such ship shall arrive or depart. Such forfeitures shall be in addition to any other general or specific penalties provided in this chapter. It shall be the duty of the various United States attorneys, under the direction of the Attorney General of the United States, to prosecute for the recovery of forfeitures under this chapter. The costs and expenses of such prosecutions shall be paid from the appropriation for the expenses of the courts of the United States.

(b) Remission and mitigation

The forfeitures imposed by subchapter II, parts II and III of subchapter III, and sections 503(b) and 507 of this title shall be subject to remission or mitigation by the Commission under such regulations and methods of ascertaining the facts as may seem to it advisable, and, if suit has been instituted, the Attorney General, upon request of the Commission, shall direct the discontinuance of any prosecution to recover such forfeitures: Provided, however, That no forfeiture shall be remitted or mitigated after determination by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) Use of notice of apparent liability

In any case where the Commission issues a notice of apparent liability looking toward the imposition of a forfeiture under this chapter, that fact shall not be used, in any other proceeding before the Commission, to the prejudice of the person to whom such notice was issued, unless (i) the forfeiture has been paid, or (ii) a court of competent jurisdiction has ordered payment of such forfeiture, and such order has become final.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title V, § 504, 48 Stat. 1101; May 20, 1937, ch. 229, § 14, 50 Stat. 197; June 25, 1948, ch. 646, § 1, 62 Stat. 909; Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 735, § 4, 68 Stat. 729; Aug. 6, 1956, ch. 973, § 2, 70 Stat. 1048; Pub. L. 86–752, § 7(b)–(d), Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 895; Pub. L. 87–448, § 2, May 11, 1962, 76 Stat. 69; Pub. L. 95–234, § 3, Feb. 21, 1978, 92 Stat. 35; Pub. L. 96–507, § 2(c), Dec. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 2747.)
Editorial Notes
References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (c), was in the original “this Act”, meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Parts II and III of subchapter III, referred to in subsec. (b), are classified to sections 351 et seq. and 381 et seq., respectively, of this title.


1980—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 96–507 conformed reference to section 507 of this title to reflect renumbering of that section which required no change in text.

1978—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–234, § 3(a), inserted in first sentence “, except as otherwise provided with respect to a forfeiture penalty determined under section 503(b)(3) of this title,” after “recoverable”. Such wording was inserted only after the first reference to “recoverable” as the probable intent of Congress.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 95–234, § 3(b), inserted reference to subchapter II of this chapter and struck out reference to section 510 of this title and “, upon application therefor,” after “by the Commission”.

1962—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 87–448 empowered the Commission to remit or mitigate the forfeitures imposed by section 510 of this title.

1960—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 86–752, § 7(b), inserted proviso that any suit for recovery of a forfeiture shall be a trial de novo.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 86–752, § 7(c), substituted “sections 503(b) and 507” for “section 507”.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 86–752, § 7(d), added subsec. (c).

1956—Subsec. (b). Act Aug. 6, 1956, inserted reference to part III of subchapter III.

1954—Subsec. (b). Act Aug. 13, 1954, inserted reference to section 507 of this title.

1937—Act May 20, 1937, designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), inserted proviso as to recovery of forfeiture in any district where a ship may arrive or depart, and added subsec. (b).

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Change of Name

Act June 25, 1948, eff. Sept. 1, 1948, substituted “United States attorneys” for “district attorneys”. See section 541 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, and Historical and Revision Notes thereunder.

Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 95–234 effective on thirtieth day after Feb. 21, 1978, see section 7 of Pub. L. 95–234, set out as a note under section 152 of this title.

Effective Date of 1962 Amendment

Pub. L. 87–448, § 3, May 11, 1962, 76 Stat. 69, provided that:

“The amendments made by this Act [enacting section 510 of this title and amending this section] shall take effect on the thirtieth day after the date of its enactment [May 11, 1962].”
Effective Date of 1956 Amendment

Amendment by act Aug. 6, 1956, effective Mar. 1, 1957, see section 4 of act Aug. 6, 1956, set out as an Effective Date note under section 381 of this title.

Effective Date of 1954 Amendment

Amendment by act Aug. 13, 1954, effective Nov. 13, 1954, see section 6 of act Aug. 13, 1954, set out as an Effective Date note under section 507 of this title.