FCC Issues Report to Congress on Access to In-State Television Programming

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The FCC just issued a Report to Congress concerning the access of television viewers to in-state television stations. This report was requested by Congress as part of STELA (the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act), which extended the compulsory license for direct to home satellite television operators (DISH and DirecTV) - a license which gives them copyright clearances to retransmit all the programming transmitted by the broadcast television stations that they make available as part of their service packages. Congress also requested a Report from the Copyright Office on the need for the compulsory license - a report also issued this week, which we will write about in another article. The issue of access to in-state television stations has been a controversial issue, as several Congressmen have sought (and in a few cases actually received) legislative authority for cable providers to carry out-of-market television stations on cable systems serving areas in one state that are part of television markets where the television stations come from a different state. The report refers to these areas as "orphan counties." Once legislative authority was granted in one state, many other bills popped up in Congress trying for the same relief in their state - causing concern that the existing television markets (or Designated Market Areas or "DMAs", designated by the Nielsen Company) might be undermined. To see what impact such changes would have, Congress requested this report from the FCC.

Please see full article below for more information.

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