S. 3333: A bill to extend the statutory license for secondary transmissions under title 17, United States Code, and for other purposes

S. 3333

A bill to extend the statutory license for secondary transmissions under title 17, United States Code, and for other purposes

Sponsor
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy

Date
May 11, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider S. 3333, on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  S. 3333 was introduced on May 7, 2010, by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

S. 3333 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.)

The bill 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.

The bill is similar to H.R. 3570 that the House passed by a vote of 394-11 in December, 2009.  The essential purpose is to provide a copyright license to satellite carriers to retransmit distant network programming to viewers who otherwise cannot receive a signal through the air.

Cost

CBO has not scored S. 3333.