H.R. 3570: Satellite Home Viewer Update and Reauthorization Act

H.R. 3570

Satellite Home Viewer Update and Reauthorization Act

Sponsor
Rep. John Conyers Jr.

Date
December 3, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3570, on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  H.R. 3570 was introduced on September 15, 2009, by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which held a mark-up and reported the bill by a vote of 34-0 on September 16, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3570 would amend and extend through December 31, 2014, the requirement that satellite carriers pay royalty fees to the Copyright Office for transmission of certain copyrighted broadcasts.  The bill also would change the calculation of royalties that cable companies pay for the right to transmit copyrighted material to their subscribers. (The requirement to pay royalties for satellite transmissions is set to expire on December 31, 2009; royalty fees for cable transmissions do not expire). 

H.R. 3570 authorizes the Copyright Office to charge filing fees to satellite and cable operators to offset part of its cost to operate the royalty program.  The bill also declares that a secondary transmission is not an infringement if it is made by a cable system in certain circumstances (such as being made to a federal governmental body designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security) related to emergency preparation, response, or recovery.

Background

Under current law, satellite and cable television carriers pay royalty fees to the Copyright Office for the right to transmit certain television signals to their subscribers.  The Copyright Office later distributes those fees to the owners of copyrights on the transmitted material.

Cost

According to CBO, enacting the bill would increase revenues by $633 million over the 2010-2019 period.  With higher royalty collections, the payments to copyright owners (including interest earnings) also would increase, resulting in an estimated increase in direct spending of $725 million over the 2010-2019 period.  Therefore, the net impact on the federal budget would be an increase in the deficit of $92 million over the over the same period.  That net increase over the 10-year period reflects the payment of interest, which accrues during the period the royalties are held by the Copyright Office, in addition to amounts collected in royalties.

H.R. 3570 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), on satellite carriers, cable carriers, broadcasters, and copyright holders.  Based on information from industry sources and the Copyright Office, CBO estimates that the aggregate cost of complying with the mandates would not exceed the annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental or private-sector mandates ($69 million and $139 million in 2009, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).