Text: H.R.4756 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

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HR 4756 IH
101st CONGRESS
2d Session
 H. R. 4756
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for the competitive
development of direct to home satellite television communications.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 9, 1990
Mr. TAUZIN (for himself, Mr. SWIFT, Mr. COOPER, Mr. SLATTERY, Mr. BOUCHER,
Mr. HALL of Texas, Mr. HAYES of Louisiana, Mr. CHAPMAN, Mr. OLIN, Mr. WEBER,
Mr. WILLIAMS, Mr. GORDON, Mr. GALLO, and Mr. DEFAZIO) introduced the following
bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
A BILL
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for the competitive
development of direct to home satellite television communications.
  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
  States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
  This Act may be cited as the `Satellite Viewers' Rights Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
  The Congress finds that--
  (1) many satellite-delivered programming services have unnecessarily
  restricted options for consumers wishing to choose between competing
  television programming distributors;
  (2) there has been a substantial increase in the penetration of cable
  television systems over the past decade, with cable television services
  now available to over 85 percent of American households;
  (3) since deregulation in 1984, the cable television industry has matured
  and today is more capable of competing with alternative programming
  delivery systems;
  (4) presently 3,000,000 Americans own C-band home satellite television
  systems and the number is growing at a rate of 350,000 to 400,000 each year;
  (5) there is disparity in wholesale pricing between programming services
  offered to cable operators and to satellite programming distributors;
  (6) nondiscriminatory wholesale pricing for satellite delivered programming
  will encourage the greatest possible competition in the television
  marketplace;
  (7) independent, noncable third party packaging of satellite delivered
  programming will encourage the availability of programming to the widest
  possible audience;
  (8) the best remedy for any potential abuses of franchise monopoly by cable
  is the infusion of competition, and the most viable and likely competitor
  is home satellite television in C and Ku-bands;
  (9) the emergence of Ku-band Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service as
  a viable alternative programming delivery system within the next several
  years will allow for significant reductions in antenna sizes and, thus,
  expand the home satellite market in urban and suburban regions; and
  (10) in order to promote the development of direct to home satellite
  service, Congress must act to ensure that copyright holders of television
  programming services will provide access to their programming services on
  fair and nondiscriminatory terms.
SEC. 3. MARKETING OF CERTAIN SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS.
  Section 705 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 605) is amended--
  (1) by redesignating subsections (c), (d), and (e) as subsections (d),
  (e), and (f), respectively; and
  (2) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection:
  `(c)(1) Any person who encrypts any satellite delivered programming shall--
  `(A) make such programming available for private viewing by home satellite
  antenna users;
  `(B) when making such programming available through any other person for
  distribution through any medium, establish reasonable and nondiscriminatory
  financial, character, technical, and service criteria and requirements under
  which non-cable distributors shall qualify to distribute such programming
  for private viewing by home satellite antenna users; and
  `(C) when making such programming available through any other person for
  distribution through any medium, establish by the effective date of this
  subparagraph or January 1, 1991, whichever is later, price, terms, and
  conditions for the wholesale distribution of such programming which do not
  discriminate between the distribution of such programming to distributors
  for cable television subscribers and distributors to home satellite antenna
  users, nor among different distributors to home satellite antennas users,
  except that this subparagraph shall not prohibit rate differentials
  which are--
  `(i) attributable to actual and reasonable differences in cost of the
  creation, sale, delivery, or transmission of such programming as between
  different delivery media;
  `(ii) attributable to reasonable volume discounts;
  `(iii) attributable to bona fide agreements for the distribution of such
  programming which were in effect prior to the enactment date of this
  subparagraph; or
  `(iv) attributable to the retransmission of network television programming
  by any person who encrypts such programming if such person is not engaged
  directly or indirectly in the retail distribution of programming to home
  satellite antenna users and is not affiliated with, owned, or controlled
  by any cable television system operator.
  `(2) Nothing contained in this subsection shall require any person who
  encrypts satellite delivered programming to authorize or license any
  distributor for a secondary satellite retransmission of such programming to
  home satellite antenna users, but, if any person who encrypts satellite
  delivered programming authorizes or licenses such a distributor, the
  provisions of paragraph (1)(B) and (1)(C) shall apply.
  `(3) Any person aggrieved by any violation of paragraph (1)(A) of this
  subsection may bring a civil action in a United States district court or in
  any other court of competent jurisdiction. Such court may grant temporary
  and final injunctions or other equitable relief on such terms as it may
  deem reasonable and appropriate to prevent or restrain such violations.
  `(4) Any person aggrieved by any violation of paragraph (1)(B), (1)(C),
  or (2) of this subsection may bring a civil action in the United States
  district court or other court of competent jurisdiction. Such court may
  grant temporary and final injunctions on such terms as it may deem reasonable
  and appropriate to prevent or restrain such violations; and (i) direct the
  recovery of damages to a prevailing plaintiff, including actual damages,
  or statutory damages for all violations in a sum of not more than $500,000,
  as the court considers just; and (ii) direct the recovery of full costs,
  including reasonable attorney's fees, to a prevailing party.
  `(5) As used in this subsection--
  `(A) the term `satellite delivered programming' means video programming
  transmitted by a domestic communications satellite intended for reception
  by cable television systems or home satellite antenna users and does
  not include any internal satellite communication of any broadcaster or
  broadcaster network;
  `(B) the term `home satellite antenna users' means individuals who own or
  operate satellite television receive-only equipment for the reception of
  satellite delivered programming for viewing in such individual's single
  family dwelling unit; and
  `(C) the term `person who encrypts' means the party who holds the rights to
  the satellite delivered programming or who establishes the prices, terms,
  and conditions for the wholesale distribution thereof.
  `(6) This subsection shall cease to be effective 7 years after the date
  of enactment of this subsection.'.
SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.
  The amendments made by section 3 of this Act shall take effect 90 days
  after the date of enactment of this Act.