Proposed STELAR Bill Would Make Good Faith Rules Permanent

WASHINGTON—As the clock ticks down to the end of the year when the current STELAR Act would expire, Congress has drafted another proposal related to the license, this time including making permanent the good faith requirement for retransmission negotiations.

The bill, The Television Viewer Protection Act, comes from House Energy & Commerce Communications Subcommittee chairman Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and ranking member Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). The bill does not reauthorize the compulsory distant signal license—something that Doyle says the House Judiciary Committee will handle.

The Judiciary did come up with its own proposal for a bill that would permanently extend the STELAR license but narrow its reach.

More information on Doyle and Walden’s bill is available on TVT’s sister publication B&C.

As the bill is now being submitted to the full House Energy & Commerce committee, the NAB has come out and given its approval to the provision regarding good faith negotiations.

“NAB applauds a key provision in the House Commerce Committee-passed STELAR bill today that makes permanent legislation requiring broadcasters and pay TV companies to conduct carriage negotiations in ‘good faith,’” said Gordon Smith, NAB president and CEO. “While we continue to question the need for STELAR legislation, a ‘permanent good faith’ requirement is far preferable to the current five-year STELAR renewal cycle that has incentivized pay-TV companies to force broadcast TV programming disruptions that harm consumers.”