House Approves Bipartisan Satellite Television Reauthorization
WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today approved bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the nation’s satellite television law to ensure that millions of satellite subscribers continue to receive broadcast programming. H.R. 4572, the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, which was approved by voice vote, reauthorizes the communications and copyright provisions of existing law for five years and makes a number of narrow reforms to better meet the needs of today’s video marketplace. The legislation is a joint product of the House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
“This bill is good policy, and we hope the Senate will take quick action to enact this must-pass law for the millions depending on satellite television,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
“This helps ensure that consumers in rural areas, like my congressional district, have the same access to news and entertainment options that consumers in urban areas enjoy,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
“I am proud to say that the STELA Reauthorization Act is yet another example of true bipartisanship with support from all sectors of the communications industry. This type of collaboration has long been the hallmark of our committee, and I’m pleased to see this legislative result. I can only urge the Senate to act swiftly and pass this bill into law before the year’s end,” said Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR).
Judiciary Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Howard Coble (R-NC) added, “I strongly support the STELA Reauthorization Act because I want to make sure our satellite-subscribing constituents have access to network channels. While we work to protect intellectual property rights on the digital platform, it’s critical that we do not limit consumers’ access to content in a reasonable and legal manner. With that in mind, I’d also like to thank everyone in the intellectual property community for the friendship that has been extended to me throughout my career while working on these important issues.”
The Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 4572 on May 8, and the Judiciary Committee approved, H.R. 5036, on July 10. The House today approved H.R. 4572 as passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee, with the language of H.R. 5036 added as a second title to the bill.
Authored by Upton, Walden, full committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA), H.R. 4572 makes the following targeted reforms to the video marketplace:
- Prohibits joint retransmission consent negotiations;
- Provides broadcasters additional time to unwind business arrangements deemed no longer in the public interest by the FCC through its recent changes in how it calculates ownership interests under the media ownership rules;
- Eliminates the “sweeps” week prohibition on signal change; and
- Eliminates the set-top box integration ban.
H.R. 4572 has received the support of groups including 21st Century Fox, ABC / Disney, the American Cable Association, the American Television Alliance, CBS, DIRECTV & Dish Network, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and US Telecom.