House Communications Subcommittee Holds Hearing on STELAR

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The House Communications Subcommittee began its review of the STELAR compulsory copyright legislation -- STELAR is the latest name for the bill, which dates from 1988, that established the compulsory license that allows satellite operators to import distant network TV station affiliates into local markets where viewers lack access to them for a variety of reasons. The act must be renewed (and historically renamed) every five years or the compulsory distant signal copyright license and a provision requiring broadcasters and satellite operators and cable operators to negotiate carriage in good faith will expire. At the hearing, there appeared to be general agreement by legislators on both sides that broadcasters provided a vital service, including local news and weather and emergency alerts and diverse programming. But there was less agreement on how renewing and/or sunsetting key STELAR provisions would affect all those. Those opposed to sunsetting STELAR could take some comfort from Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), who said that while he agreed that while the license and good faith components were hardly a perfect solution, allowing it so sunset would result in a "crisis," of lost viewership and invite bad behavior and consumer harm. 

House Makes First Pass at STELAR Hearing Page