Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019
Congress recently passed the Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019 (“STCPPA”), which the President signed into law on December 20, 2019. This law makes permanent the satellite carrier distant broadcast signal license found in section 119 of the Copyright Act for non-network stations and for network stations transmitted to RVs and commercial trucks and to “short markets” that lack one or more of the four most widely available network stations. It removes other previously permitted uses of the license and requires that a satellite carrier provide local service in all 210 designated market areas (“DMAs”) if it wishes to utilize the section 119 license. STCPPA also amends several provisions of the Communications Act. For further detail on those matters, consult the FCC’s website at www.fcc.gov.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019
How does the new law affect carriage of distant signals by satellite?
STCPPA makes permanent the section 119 license for satellite carriers to provide the distant signal of non-network stations generally to subscribers and network stations to subscribers in RVs and commercial trucks or local markets that lack one or more of the four most widely available network stations. The law amends section 119 to remove coverage of numerous other uses, such as the C-Band exemption; these uses now must be licensed directly with the copyright owner. Satellite carriers that wish to utilize the section 119 license must carry local broadcast stations in each of the 210 DMAs where networks have local broadcasts, though the law provides limited exceptions such as a force majeure event beyond the control of the satellite carrier or broadcast station. It provides for a transition period of the shorter of until May 31, 2020, or when the satellite operator provides local coverage in all 210 DMAs.
Did the Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019 affect royalty or filing fees for cable or satellite operators?
No. STCPPA made no changes to the filing fees or royalty fee rates or structures for cable or satellite operators.