Sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act would repeal the compulsory license, must-carry, retransmission consent and local broadcast ownership limits. NAB turns thumbs down.
Bill Would Repeal Retrans, Ownership Caps
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Friday introduced legislation in their respective chambers that would turn decades of broadcasting and cable regulation on its head.
The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act — H.R. 3675 and S. 2008 — would repeal the compulsory license, must-carry, retransmission consent and local broadcast ownership limits.
The NAB was quick to voice its opposition to the measure, despite its deregulatory thrust.
“Current law ensures access to quality local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather warnings,” said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton in a statement.
“The proposed changes to the Communications Act strike at the core of free market negotiations and broadcast localism, thereby threatening a community-based information and entertainment medium that serves tens of millions of Americans each day.”
The American Television Alliance, primarily cable and satellite operators gunning to undermine broadcasters retransmission consent rights, commended Scalise and DeMint, calling their legislation a “constructive step forward.”
In a statement, Scalise said laws have not been keeping up with changes in electronic media.
“Together, decades-old cable and satellite ‘compulsory copyright’ licenses and ‘retransmission consent’ regulations currently influence many aspects of the broadcast programming consumers watch on TV,” he said.
“The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, and the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act ensures that by removing the heavy hand of government, the market is free to operate in a way that continues to benefit consumers and encourage innovation.”
Added DeMint: “If we want to encourage innovation, job creation and consumer benefits, we need to stop issuing new regulations and instead remove and modernize rules written to address the last century’s business and regulatory models.”
Specially, the legislation would:
- “Repeal those provisions of the Communications Act that mandate the carriage and purchase of certain broadcast signals by cable operators, satellite providers and their customers.
- “Repeal the Communications Act’s retransmission consent provisions and the Copyright Act’s compulsory license provisions, thereby allowing negotiations for the carriage of broadcast stations to take place in the same deregulated environment as negotiations for carriage of non-broadcast channels such as Discovery, Food Network and AMC.
- “Repeal ownership limitations imposed on local media operators, allowing businesses to evolve and adapt to today’s dynamic communications market.”