It tells the FCC that the agency shouldn’t make a “piecemeal” decision to eliminate its program exclusivity rules, “but should defer to Congress, the only entity capable of addressing the entire framework as a whole.”
In comments filed with the FCC today, the NAB reiterated its objection to the commission’s proposal to eliminate its exclusivity rules for cable operators while they still have the right under their compulsory license to import programming contained in distant broadcast signals at government-set, below market rates.
“These network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules,” NAB wrote, “are only one part of a complex, intertwined regulatory and statutory structure governing the creation and distribution of television programming.” Given the interrelationship between exclusivity, compulsory copyrights and carriage requirements, NAB has urged the commission to “refrain from blindly repealing its program exclusivity rules without regard to the severe consequences resulting from operation of the cable industry’s statutory copyright license in the absence of the FCC’s rules.”
“Removal of the rules,” NAB said, “would provide cable operators an unwarranted competitive advantage over both local stations and satellite operators, which are subject to statutory exclusivity requirements that Congress recently readopted and the commission cannot change.”
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined this interdependence of the exclusivity rules with other statutory and regulatory provisions in a recent report to Congress, and, said NAB, “cautioned that the potentially harmful effects of eliminating the FCC’s rules would depend on whether related laws and regulations – including specifically the compulsory copyright licenses — were also changed.
“GAO’s report provides yet more evidence that the Commission should decline to act in a piecemeal fashion by eliminating its program exclusivity rules applicable to cable operators, but should defer to Congress, the only entity capable of addressing the entire framework as a whole.”