House Panel Passes Satellite TV Bill

WASHINGTON: The House Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved the Satellite Home Viewer Update and Reauthorization Act of 2009. The bill, H.R. 3570, extends the previous iteration of the legislation by five years, allowing pay TV providers limited access to broadcast signals outside of a station’s given market.

Dow Jones reported. Lawmakers said future carriage rights should be negotiated in a free market.

Likewise legislation must be approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee before it gets put to a floor vote.

More on TV signal carriage legislation:
July 15, 2009: “Congressman Bows Bill to Import TV Signals”
Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross is pushing legislation to overturn the current rules governing which broadcast signals satellite and cable operators can carry. Ross is member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he intends to refer the so-called “Local Television Freedom Act of 2009.”
June 25, 2009: “SHVERA Passes House Subcommittee”
The only changes to the legislation as it was written in 2004 were the date and the provision to measure digital signal coverage using the Longley-Rice model employed by the FCC. The bill renews satellite carriage of certain out-of-market broadcast signals for another five years.

June 16, 2009: “Broadcasters Battle for Signal Protection”
span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: "Times New Roman";">The broadcast lobby is playing the localism card in a big way as Congress considers the renewal of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act. Cable and satellite operators are agitating to import the signals of TV stations in distant markets, while broadcasters contend that doing so will destroy incumbent stations. Currently, the law allows carriers to provide distant signals to households that cannot receive TV stations in their own designated market areas.

May 8, 2009: “ACA Says Retrans is Squeezing Too Hard”
span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: "Times New Roman";">The cable industry has not yet rolled over on retransmission consent, whether or not it comes up in pending satellite copyright legislation. The American Cable Association this week released a summary of how broadcasters reaped hefty retrans fees from cable operators in the first quarter of this year. The broadcast lobby in turn released numbers showing how much money cable operators are making from subscribers.

March 30, 2009: “Network Affiliates Urge Lawmakers to Preserve Distant-Signal Limits”
CBS and NBC are urging key lawmakers to maintain restrictions on what TV stations cable and satellite operators can carry in a given market. The networks today penned separate letters to members of the House and Senate committees handling the renewal of SHVERA, the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act.