Summary: H.R.4572 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (07/22/2014)

STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 - Title I: Communications Provisions - (Sec. 101) Amends the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA), to extend until December 31, 2019, the exemption from retransmission consent requirements (which prohibit cable systems or other multichannel video programming distributors [MVPDs] from retransmitting broadcasting station signals without the authority of the originating station) for satellite retransmissions of network station signals to subscribers located outside of a station's local market who reside in unserved households (commonly referred to as "distant signals"). Extends until January 1, 2020: (1) the prohibition on exclusive retransmission consent contracts, and (2) the requirement that television broadcast stations and MVPDs negotiate in good faith.

(Sec. 102) Directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prohibit television broadcast stations from coordinating their negotiations or negotiating jointly in the same local market to grant retransmission consent to an MVPD, unless such stations are directly or indirectly under common de jure control permitted under FCC regulations.

(Sec. 103) Establishes a process to delay application of the FCC's amendments to joint sales agreement (JSA) rules under which a television station that sells more than 15% of the weekly advertising time of another station in the same market is attributed an ownership interest subject to ownership limitation rules. Prohibits a JSA party that submits a petition to the FCC for a waiver of such attribution rules from being considered in violation of ownership limits until the later of: (1) 18 months after the FCC denies such petition, or (2) December 31, 2016. (Currently, the FCC requires compliance with ownership limits within two years of the FCC's order adopting such amended attribution rules.)

(Sec. 104) Removes a prohibition against deletion or reposition of a local commercial television station during periods in which major television ratings services measure the size of local television station audiences (commonly referred to as "sweeps" weeks).

(Sec. 105) Repeals an integration ban that prohibits certain MVPDs from placing in service new navigation devices (set-top boxes) for sale, lease, or use that perform both conditional access (mechanisms that provide for selective access and denial of specific services and can prevent a signal from being received by unauthorized users) and other functions in a single integrated device.

(Sec. 106) Requires a Comptroller General (GAO) report concerning changes to carriage requirements currently imposed on MVPDs that would be required, or beneficial to consumers, if Congress implemented a phase-out of statutory compulsory licensing procedures (a licensing and royalty distribution system administered by the U.S. Copyright Office under which cable and satellite operators may retransmit programming, without negotiating with every copyright holder, by paying licensing royalties at statutorily-defined rates determined by Copyright Royalty Judges or by using a royalty-free license for the retransmission of local broadcasts) under federal copyright law.

(Sec. 107) Directs satellite carriers to submit annual reports to the FCC regarding: (1) the local markets in which television broadcast station signals are retransmitted with a community of license, and (2) the use and potential use of satellite capacity for the retransmission of local signals in each local market. Terminates such reporting requirements after each satellite carrier has submitted five reports.

(Sec. 108) Requires the FCC to report to Congress regarding: (1) the extent to which consumers in each local market have access to broadcast programming from television broadcast stations located outside their local market, including through carriage by cable operators and satellite carriers of signals that are significantly viewed; and (2) whether there are technologically and economically feasible alternatives to the use of designated market areas to define markets that would provide consumers with more programming options and the potential impact such alternatives could have on localism and on broadcast television locally, regionally, and nationally.

Title II: Copyright Provisions - Amends federal copyright law to extend until December 31, 2019, the statutory license under which satellite carriers retransmit distant television broadcast stations to viewers who are unable to receive signals for such stations in their local market. (Currently, the statutory licensing authority for such satellite retransmissions is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2014.)