Summary: H.R.2848 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (10/05/1988)

(Measure passed House, amended)

Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1988 - Amends the copyright law to require statutory licensing of secondary transmissions of a primary transmission made by a superstation or a network station if such secondary transmission is made by a satellite carrier to the public for private viewing for a charge.

Limits such network station statutory licensing requirement to secondary transmissions to unserved households.

Requires a satellite carrier that makes secondary transmissions of a primary transmission by a network station to submit to such network (or its affiliate) a subscriber information list for purposes of monitoring compliance by the satellite carrier. Declares that noncompliance with such reporting and payment requirements is actionable as an act of infringement, as is the secondary transmission by a satellite carrier of a primary transmission made by a network station to a subscriber who does not reside in an unserved household.

Prohibits the carrier from altering such transmission or discriminating against a distributor.

Requires the satellite carrier to deposit semiannually with the Register of Copyrights both royalty fees and a statement of account. Requires distribution of such fees to a copyright owner according to the accounting and specified procedures. Requires the Copyright Royalty Tribunal to conduct a proceeding to determine distribution if a controversy exists.

Requires voluntary negotiation of fees or fees set by compulsory arbitration if no voluntary agreement is filed with the Copyright Office. Authorizes judicial review of decisions of the Tribunal concerning the adoption or rejection of the arbitration.

Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to direct the Federal Communications Commission, within 120 days after the effective date of this Act, to initiate a combined inquiry and rulemaking proceeding to determine the feasibility of imposing syndicated exclusivity rules about the delivery of syndicated programming for private viewing similar to other Commission rules about syndicated exclusivity and cable television. Requires adoption of such rules if feasible. Subjects violators of such rules to specified penalties.

Requires the Commission to report to the Congress, within one year after the effective date of this Act, about any existing discrimination of the sort addressed by this Act.

Requires the Commission to initiate an inquiry concerning the need for a universal encryption standard that permits decryption of satellite cable programming intended for private viewing. Prescribes inquiry guidelines. Doubles the fines and maximum imprisonment terms for willful violations of unauthorized publication or use of communications and raises from $250 to $1,000 the minimum statutory damages which a court may award an aggrieved party. Establishes maximum fines and imprisonment terms for persons knowingly engaged in transactions involving devices used primarily to assist in the unauthorized decryption of satellite cable programming (or any other proscribed activity).

Terminates this Act on December 31, 1994.