The Copyright Office is reviewing the reporting obligations of cable and satellite television systems related to the statutory license that permits those systems to carry the programming of local television stations. The Copyright Office has just announced that it is extending the comment period in the proceeding. Comments are now due March 16, with replies due on April 6, 2018.
A bill introduced in Congress Thursday that would give Donald Trump and all future presidents the authority to appoint the head of the U.S. Copyright Office has received the endorsement of the Directors Guild of America and Motion Picture Association of America as well as the NAB, whose CEO Gordon Smith said: “As representatives of both significant owners and users of copyrighted material, NAB supports passage of this bill and will continue to work with lawmakers on broader efforts to modernize the copyright office.”
The U.S. Copyright Office has joined the list of parties expressing concerns with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to loosen the grip cable and satellite TV providers have on the leased set-top box market.
In its Aereo ruling last month, the Supreme Court said that Aereo was “highly similar” to a cable system. But now the Copyright Office says it does not “see anything” in the ruling that would cause it to alter its long-standing opposition to extending the cable compulsory license to online distributors. “In the view of the Copyright Office, Internet retransmission of broadcast television falls outside the scope of [the] license,” it said.
The Copyright Office is in the process of updating its list of TV stations that claim to be “specialty” stations, a desirable status for some in the copyright world, and it has invited comments on possible changes.
If your station qualifies as a “specialty station,” you should be sure to file with the U.S. Copyright Office so your station can be carried by cable systems at the lowest possible rate, a good incentive to encourage carriage. Filing an affidavit is a relatively simple step that can benefit stations, cable operators and viewers, who may receive a wider range of program choices as a result of the procedure.