(House of Representatives - July 22, 2014)

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[Pages H6588-H6592]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                   STELA REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2014

  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 4572) to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to extend 
expiring provisions relating to the retransmission of signals of 
television broadcast stations, and for other purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 4572

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``STELA 
     Reauthorization Act of 2014''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. No additional appropriations authorized.


Sec. 101. Extension of authority.
Sec. 102. Retransmission consent negotiations.
Sec. 103. Delayed application of JSA attribution rule in case of waiver 
Sec. 104. Deletion or repositioning of stations during certain periods.
Sec. 105. Repeal of integration ban.
Sec. 106. Report on communications implications of statutory licensing 
Sec. 107. Local network channel broadcast reports.
Sec. 108. Report on designated market areas.
Sec. 109. Definitions.


Sec. 201. Reauthorization.
Sec. 202. Termination of license.


       No additional funds are authorized to carry out this Act, 
     or the amendments made by this Act. This Act, and the 
     amendments made by this Act, shall be carried out using 
     amounts otherwise authorized or appropriated.



       Section 325(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 
     325(b)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (2)(C), by striking ``December 31, 2014'' 
     and inserting ``December 31, 2019''; and
       (2) in paragraph (3)(C), by striking ``January 1, 2015'' 
     each place it appears and inserting ``January 1, 2020''.


       (a) In General.--Section 325(b)(3)(C) of the Communications 
     Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 325(b)(3)(C)) is amended--
       (1) in clause (ii), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in clause (iii), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting ``; and''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(iv) prohibit a television broadcast station from 
     coordinating negotiations or negotiating on a joint basis 
     with another television broadcast station in the same local 
     market (as defined in section 122(j) of title 17, United 
     States Code) to grant retransmission consent under this 
     section to a multichannel video programming distributor, 
     unless such stations are directly or indirectly under common 
     de jure control permitted under the regulations of the 
       (b) Margin Correction.--Section 325(b)(3)(C) of the 
     Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 325(b)(3)(C)) is 
     further amended by moving the margin of clause (iii) 4 ems to 
     the left.
       (c) Deadline for Regulations.--Not later than 9 months 
     after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission 
     shall promulgate regulations to implement the amendments made 
     by this section.

                   OF WAIVER PETITION.

       In the case of a party to a joint sales agreement (as 
     defined in Note 2(k) to section 73.3555 of title 47, Code of 
     Federal Regulations) that is in effect on the effective date 
     of the amendment to Note 2(k)(2) to such section made by the 
     Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Report and Order 
     adopted by the Commission on March 31, 2014 (FCC 14-28), and 
     who, not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment 
     of this Act, submits to the Commission a petition for a 
     waiver of the application to such agreement of the rule in 
     such Note 2(k)(2) (as so amended), such party shall not be 
     considered to be in violation of the ownership limitations of 
     such section by reason of the application of such rule to 
     such agreement until the later of--
       (1) the date that is 18 months after the date on which the 
     Commission denies such petition; or
       (2) December 31, 2016.

                   CERTAIN PERIODS.

       (a) In General.--Section 614(b)(9) of the Communications 
     Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 534(b)(9)) is amended by striking the 
     second sentence.
       (b) Revision of Rules.--Not later than 90 days after the 
     date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall 
     revise section 76.1601 of its rules (47 CFR 76.1601) and any 
     note to such section by removing the prohibition against 
     deletion or repositioning of a local commercial television 
     station during a period in which major television ratings 
     services measure the size of audiences of local television 


       (a) No Force or Effect.--The second sentence of section 
     76.1204(a)(1) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, shall 
     have no force or effect after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act.
       (b) Removal From Rules.--Not later than 180 days after the 
     date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall 
     complete all actions necessary to remove the sentence 
     described in subsection (a) from its rules.


       (a) Study.--The Comptroller General of the United States 
     shall conduct a study that analyzes and evaluates the changes 
     to the carriage requirements currently imposed on 
     multichannel video programming distributors under the 
     Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.) and the 
     regulations promulgated by the Commission that would be 
     required or beneficial to consumers, and such other matters 
     as the Comptroller General considers appropriate, if Congress 
     implemented a phase-out of the current statutory licensing 
     requirements set forth under sections 111, 119, and 122 of 
     title 17, United States Code. Among other things, the study 
     shall consider the impact such a phase-out and related 
     changes to carriage requirements would have on consumer 
     prices and access to programming.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 18 months after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit 
     to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the 
     results of the study conducted under subsection (a), 
     including any recommendations for legislative or 
     administrative actions. Such report shall also include a 
     discussion of any differences between such results and the 
     results of the study conducted under section 303 of the 
     Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (124 
     Stat. 1255).


       (a) Requirement.--
       (1) In general.--On the 270th day after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, and on each succeeding anniversary of 
     such 270th day, each satellite carrier shall submit an annual 
     report to the Commission setting forth--
       (A) each local market in which it--
       (i) retransmits signals of 1 or more television broadcast 
     stations with a community of license in that market;
       (ii) has commenced providing such signals in the preceding 
     1-year period; and
       (iii) has ceased to provide such signals in the preceding 
     1-year period; and
       (B) detailed information regarding the use and potential 
     use of satellite capacity for the retransmission of local 
     signals in each local market.
       (2) Termination.--The requirement under paragraph (1) shall 
     cease after each satellite carrier has submitted 5 reports 
     under such paragraph.
       (b) Definitions.--In this section--
       (1) the terms ``local market'' and ``satellite carrier'' 
     have the meaning given such terms in section 339(d) of the 
     Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 339(d)); and
       (2) the term ``television broadcast station'' has the 
     meaning given such term in section 325(b)(7) of the 
     Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 325(b)(7)).


       Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act, the Commission shall submit to the appropriate 
     congressional committees a report containing an analysis of--
       (1) the extent to which consumers in each local market (as 
     defined in section 122(j) of title 17, United States Code) 
     have access to broadcast programming from television 
     broadcast stations (as defined in section 325(b)(7) of the 
     Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 325(b)(7))) located 
     outside their local market, including through carriage by 
     cable operators and satellite carriers of signals that are 
     significantly viewed (within the meaning of section 340 of 
     such Act (47 U.S.C. 340)); and
       (2) whether there are technologically and economically 
     feasible alternatives to the use of designated market areas 
     (as defined in section 122(j) of title 17, United States 
     Code) 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.


       In this title:
       (1) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term 
     ``appropriate congressional committees'' means the Committee 
     on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on

[[Page H6589]]

     the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the 
     Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate.
       (2) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
     Communications Commission.



       Chapter 1 of title 17, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in section 111(d)(3)--
       (A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking 
     ``clause'' and inserting ``paragraph''; and
       (B) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``clause'' and 
     inserting ``paragraph''; and
       (2) in section 119--
       (A) in subsection (c)(1)(E), by striking ``2014'' and 
     inserting ``2019''; and
       (B) in subsection (e), by striking ``2014'' and inserting 


       (a) In General.--Section 119 of title 17, United States 
     Code, as amended in section 201, is amended by adding at the 
     end the following:
       ``(h) Termination of License.--This section shall cease to 
     be effective on December 31, 2019.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 107(a) of the Satellite 
     Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (17 U.S.C. 119 
     note) is repealed.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. Walden) and the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Welch) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon.

                             General Leave

  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
insert extraneous materials in the Record on the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Oregon?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Today, we are offering a bill that will ensure that 1.5 million 
subscribers in hard-to-reach areas, including many in my home State of 
Oregon, will continue to receive vital news and information through the 
television. The STELA Reauthorization Act extends the copyright and 
retransmission consent provisions for distant signals retransmitted by 
commercial satellite providers for 5 years.
  Our committee has worked hard on this bill. We have engaged members 
of industry and consumer groups, and we have talked about the difficult 
policy matters that affect all consumers when it comes to video 
programming. Every member of our committee, on both sides of the aisle, 
has engaged with industry and consumers to figure out the right policy 
and to get to the right outcome, which we bring to you today.
  Our bill not only reauthorizes the compulsory copyright and 
retransmission exemption for 5 years, but it also targets and, in some 
areas, gives much-needed reforms to our communications law.
  Specifically, this bill repeals the FCC's integration ban on cable-
leased set-top boxes. That clears the way for innovation and investment 
by lifting an unnecessary regulatory burden that has cost the cable 
industry and its consumers who pay the $1 billion--$1 billion, Mr. 
Speaker--since 2007.
  I especially want to thank my friend, the extraordinary, terrific 
vice chair of the Telecommunications Subcommittee, Mr. Latta of Ohio, 
and my Democratic colleague from Texas, Gene Green, who brought this 
issue to our attention and helped us in this bipartisan lift to get rid 
of the integration ban.
  Our bill also evens the playing field for cable operators and 
broadcasters during sweeps weeks by removing a government restriction 
on cable's ability to drop broadcast signals during the Nielsen sweeps.
  Additionally, broadcast stations in a single market will no longer be 
able to negotiate jointly with pay-TV providers. Pay-TV subscribers 
will no longer have to worry about losing more than one signal should a 
programming distributor be unable to reach its retransmission consent 
agreement with a broadcast station.
  These can be very contentious matters, Mr. Speaker. I am proud to say 
that the STELA Reauthorization Act is yet another example of working 
together, getting true bipartisanship, with support from all sectors of 
the communications industry.
  This type of collaboration has long been the hallmark of our 
subcommittee and full committee, and I am pleased to see this 
legislative result. I can only urge the Senate to act swiftly and pass 
this bill into law before the end of the year.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Today, Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4572, the STELA 
Reauthorization Act, a bill that allows satellite providers to continue 
to offer broadcast television programming to their subscribers.
  Americans across the country will benefit from reauthorizing the 
expiring communications and copyright statute that allows satellite 
customers to have access to broadcast content, but it particularly 
benefits rural communities, a concern of many of us in this body. Folks 
from Vermont are going to benefit by this. They rely heavily on 
satellite for access to video programming.
  The STELA Reauthorization Act is the work product of two committees, 
the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Because 
of the bill's complexity, both substantively and procedurally, the 
Communications and Technology Subcommittee held a series of hearings 
starting early last year to examine the various issues affecting our 
Nation's ever-evolving video marketplace. As a result, H.R. 4572 
includes several targeted provisions designed to improve regulatory 
parity in the video marketplace.
  One, the bill prohibits two noncommonly owned broadcasters from 
jointly negotiating for retransmission consent with cable and satellite 
  Two, the bill also includes a compromise on the deadline for 
broadcasters to unwind certain joint sales agreements in an attempt to 
keep intact the FCC's local broadcast ownership rules.
  The final provision we are voting on today strengthens the waiver 
process both for the broadcasters seeking to maintain their joint sales 
agreements, as well as for the FCC looking to streamline waiver 
  In addition, the bill eliminates the FCC's integration ban for cable 
set-top boxes, a rule that was designed to help promote a retail market 
for cable set-top boxes that regrettably is not working as intended.
  To allow independent manufacturers of set-top boxes a chance to 
compete, the FCC requires both cable companies and third-party set-top 
box manufacturers to rely on the same piece of technology to decrypt 
their signals, called the CableCARD.
  Not only has this regime not resulted in the kind of competition 
Congress envisioned, energy experts told us that the CableCARD actually 
creates significant energy inefficiencies. So our bill takes this rule 
off the books, but does not place any forward-looking restrictions on 
the FCC's authority to continue to promote retail competition for set-
top boxes.
  These narrow changes only begin to scratch the surface of the broken 
video marketplace. In my view, Congress should revisit the entire video 
regime and update the corresponding laws to better represent the 21st 
century marketplace, to drive competition, and, most importantly, to 
provide more benefits to consumers.
  The various stakeholders, from distributors to programmers to 
broadcasters and content providers, have all been able to reap 
financial rewards, as they should, in this video marketplace, but my 
concern and the concern of many of us is that the consumer has been 
left out of the equation.
  They have paid, on average, twice the rate of inflation annually for 
cable over the past 20 years. I understand there are a lot of costs 
that go into the overall rate to consumers, but it is time for the 
consumers' concerns to be heard and responded to.
  I want to thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Walden for working with 
Ranking Members Waxman and Eshoo and Democrats--thank you, gentlemen--
on the bipartisan compromise on this bill.
  I urge my colleagues to support the passage of this bill today, but I 
do hope that this is only the beginning, and we can work together on a 
more comprehensive bill to address the broken aspects of the video 
  I reserve the balance of my time.

[[Page H6590]]

  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to reclaim my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Oregon?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, with that, I yield to the distinguished 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Upton), the leader of our Energy and 
Commerce Committee.
  Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, the STELA Reauthorization Act is a very 
important piece of must-pass legislation that ensures that millions of 
satellite TV subscribers continue to receive broadcast TV programming 
from their chosen satellite provider.
  The bill represents the best of what our committee does--work 
together to produce a bipartisan bill that does indeed strengthen our 
economy and streamline our laws for the innovation age.
  In addition to extending the laws that permit satellite providers to 
bring broadcast signals to hard-to-reach customers, the bill also makes 
targeted reforms to our Nation's woefully outdated communications laws.
  As our committee prepares for an updated Communications Act, these 
reforms are small examples of some of the deregulatory changes that we 
can make to spur investment and communications networks and promote 

                              {time}  1515

  The bill eliminates the costly cableCARD integration ban that has 
increased the cost of cable-leased set-top boxes and made them less 
energy efficient, evens the playing field for cable and satellite 
providers when it comes to protecting broadcast signals during Nielsen 
sweeps, brings fairness to retransmission consent negotiations by 
barring broadcast stations from jointly negotiating with programing 
distributors, and ensures that broadcasters who have had their business 
models upended by recent FCC actions indeed have adequate time to make 
the changes necessary to comply with the new rules.
  This bill is good policy, and we hope that the Senate will take quick 
action to enact this must-pass law for the millions depending on 
satellite television.
  I want to particularly thank Subcommittee on Communications and 
Technology Chairman Walden from Oregon, Ranking Members Henry Waxman 
and Anna Eshoo, and our respective staffs for their bipartisan work 
from the start on this very important legislation.
  I am proud of this product. As we work toward the Comm Act update to 
modernize our Nation's communications law for the innovation era, 
continued cooperation will be very critical to our success. I urge my 
colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. WALDEN. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Conyers), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. CONYERS. I thank the gentleman for his generosity.
  Mr. Speaker, I, like my colleague from New York (Mr. Nadler), rise in 
support of this bipartisan legislation for several reasons.
  To begin with, section 119 of the Copyright Act expires on December 
31. It is particularly important for unserved households, namely, 
customers who can't receive an over-the-air-signal of a local network. 
Thus, if Congress fails to act, millions of Americans stand to lose 
access to their broadcast television service.
  H.R. 4572 responds to this problem, in pertinent part, by extending 
for 5 years the section 119 license authorization, thereby ensuring 
continued service to millions of Americans.
  The other reason that I support this bill is that it is a good 
example of how Congress can work on a bipartisan basis and produce 
legislation offering effective solutions.
  There are many issues regarding the relationship between broadcast 
television stations and distributors that would benefit from similar 
efforts by stakeholders working together to see if consensus can be 
obtained. In particular, I have long argued that content creators 
should be compensated appropriately for their works. Negotiations in 
the free market can often best ensure that artists and content creators 
are fairly compensated. In some cases, we have seen consumers pulled 
into the middle of such negotiations. No one wants this to happen. It 
is not good for consumers, nor is it good for the parties involved.
  Finally, this legislation comports with two important guiding 
principles: consumers should be protected, and competition should be 
  All of us consumers benefit from increased competition because it 
typically facilitates lower prices, while also generating more 
innovation, variety, and options. Consumers want the flexibility to 
watch programming on their choice of television sets, phones, and 
tablets, no matter where they are.
  We should also recognize that many consumers very much value local 
news and sports programming and the need for local channels to deliver 
community service and emergency information. Thus, we should continue 
to consider ways to increase programming options for subscribers to 
cable or satellite television.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman an additional 30 
  Mr. CONYERS. Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I am honored to yield such time as he may 
consume to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte), the chairman of 
the House Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, the House is considering 
joint Judiciary and Energy and Commerce Committee legislation to ensure 
that our rural constituents continue to have access to network channels 
on America's two satellite carriers.
  Title II of the legislation extends the expiring section 119 
copyright license for another 5 years, as this committee has done on 
previous occasions, most recently in 2010. This license ensures that 
when our constituents do not have access to a full complement of local 
network television stations, they can have access, through satellite 
television carriers, to distant network television stations. This helps 
ensure that consumers in rural areas, like my congressional district, 
have the same access to news and entertainment options that consumers 
in urban areas enjoy.
  Without enactment of this legislation, many of our constituents would 
potentially lose access to certain networks altogether on December 31 
when the current license expires. I would like to point out that, 
although numerous stakeholders interested in video issues have 
contacted the Judiciary Committee on a variety of issues, they all 
agree that this license should not expire at the end of this year.
  Other issues of interest in this area will be the subject of further 
discussions as the Judiciary Committee continues its ongoing review of 
our Nation's copyright laws.
  I want to express my appreciation to the chairman of the Energy and 
Commerce Committee, Mr. Upton, and the chairman of the 
Telecommunications Subcommittee, Mr. Walden, for their efforts on this 
reauthorization as well, and I look forward to continuing to work with 
them on this issue that is important to all of our constituents.

  Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Nadler), a member of the Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4572, the STELA 
Reauthorization Act of 2014, as amended, which renews for another 5 
years the statutory license that allows satellite providers to 
retransmit distance signals into a local broadcast area in certain 
  The satellite distant-into-local license contained in section 119 of 
the Copyright Act is set to expire on December 31 of this year. Among 
other things, that license allows satellite carriers to provide an out-
of-market station to customers who are not served by local television 
  Enacted in 1988 when the satellite industry was in its infancy, the 
section 119 license was intended to foster competition with the cable 
industry and also to increase service to unserved households, those 
subscribers who cannot receive an over-the-air signal of a local 
network. In 2010, as was the case on three prior occasions, Congress 
extended the section 119 license for another 5 years.

[[Page H6591]]

  In granting cable and satellite providers the statutory right to 
retransmit copyrighted content at a government-regulated rate, Congress 
created an exception to the general rule that creators have exclusive 
rights to their works, including the right to determine when and how to 
distribute them.
  This licensing system replaces the free market, something that we are 
generally reluctant to do. When we did so for cable and satellite 
providers, these industries were just starting up and the licenses were 
intended to encourage growth, foster competition, and enhance consumer 
  On these fronts, the system has been a tremendous success. It is 
estimated that nearly 90 percent of American households now subscribe 
to a pay-TV service provided by multichannel video programming 
distributors, in most cases, cable or satellite operators. Nearly all 
households have a choice of at least three different providers.
  Nonetheless, the dramatic recent changes in marketplace dynamics, as 
well as technological advantages that revolutionize ways of 
distributing video content, raise legitimate questions about whether 
the statutory licensing system in the Copyright Act is still needed or 
should be changed.
  I support this 5-year reauthorization of the section 119 distant-
into-local satellite license. We still need answers as to how many 
households would actually lose one or more of the four major network 
channels if section 119 were not renewed. I, nonetheless, support this 
5-year reauthorization because it will ensure that consumers who are 
receiving service by virtue of the section 119 license retain that 
service when the agreements providing for that service expire at the 
end of the year.
  I hope we use the time afforded by this renewal to make the 
modifications to see if we have to keep the statutory license and keep 
away from the free market or modify the statutory license in the 
future. For the time being, we ought to extend it and renew this 
license now.
  I, therefore, urge my colleagues to join me in voting for H.R. 4572.
  Mr. WALDEN. I thank the gentleman for his comments.
  Mr. Speaker, I now yield such time as he may consume to the 
distinguished gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Latta), the vice chair of the 
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
  Mr. LATTA. I thank the gentleman, the chairman of the subcommittee, 
for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4572, the STELA 
Reauthorization Act.
  For the last several months, Members of Congress have been earnestly 
engaged in collaborative discussions and a great deal of work regarding 
the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism 
Act. This must-pass legislation is key to ensuring that over 1.5 
million consumers of satellite television service do not lose access to 
programming they rely on when the current measure is set to expire at 
the end of this year.
  Through Chairmen Upton's and Walden's thoughtful leadership, the 
STELA Reauthorization Act also includes a few discrete and narrow 
reforms to laws governing the video marketplace. These reforms 
represent a critical step forward in modernizing our communications 
laws to reflect the rapidly evolving, dynamic, and competitive 
communications marketplace we have today.
  I am especially pleased that a provision from my bipartisan bill, 
H.R. 3196, with Congressman Gene Green was included in this measure to 
eliminate the current set-top box integration ban. Repealing this 
outmoded technological mandate will foster greater investment and 
innovation in the set-top box market but, more importantly, will help 
decrease the cost of delivery to consumers.
  Since the FCC adopted the integration ban, we have seen a tremendous 
amount of progress and competition in the video marketplace organically 
developed outside the set-top box retail market, all absent government 
regulation. Now, given the myriad devices and means through which 
consumers can access video content, the integration ban is an 
unnecessary regulation that does not reflect the state of competition, 
technological advancements, or consumer demands of today.
  The elimination of the integration ban, along with the few other 
targeted reforms included in STELA, underscores the bipartisan 
commitment to ensuring that our communication laws maximize the 
potential for investment, innovation, and consumer choice.
  I once again commend Chairmen Upton and Walden for their leadership 
in this effort.
  Our priority in reauthorizing STELA has long been to ensure a 
continuity of service for satellite subscribers, and today's vote marks 
a critical step toward fulfilling that responsibility.
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' and support this bipartisan 
  Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I congratulate Mr. Latta and Mr. Green for 
their very good work in making a good bill better. I want to also 
salute Mr. Upton and Mr. Walden for their good work, working closely in 
partnership with Mr. Waxman and Ms. Eshoo.
  We have no further speakers, so I urge a ``yes'' vote on this bill, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Vermont 
for his kind words and his good work on this legislation. Certainly, I 
recognize our counterparts on the Democratic side, Mr. Waxman and Ms. 
Eshoo, who have worked tirelessly on this bill, as well as their staff: 
Shawn Chang, Margaret McCarthy, and David Grossman. Also, our staff, 
David Redl; my senior policy adviser, Ray Baum; and Grace Koh, all of 
whom have spent a lot of time working this through.
  It seems interesting that we get to this point and it kind of goes 
naturally, but there is a lot of work that went in to getting it to 
this point. So I thank our staff and the Members who worked with us in 
a very good-spirited way.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge the House to approve this bill, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4572, the 
STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014.
  Seventeen months ago, the Subcommittee on Communications and 
Technology embarked on a process to reauthorize the Satellite 
Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA), a law ensuring 
that approximately 1.5 million satellite subscribers can continue 
accessing broadcast television signals. By reauthorizing STELA for a 
period of five years, H.R. 4572 ensures that these mostly rural 
households do not lose access to broadcast programming when the statute 
expires on December 31, 2014.
  H.R. 4572 also offers several meaningful reforms to the video 
marketplace. First, the legislation ensures broadcasters cannot team up 
against pay-TV providers for leverage during retransmission consent 
negotiations. As retrans revenue is projected to rise to an estimated 
$7.6 billion by 2019, this provision is an important step toward 
rebalancing the playing field and ultimately protecting consumers from 
unacceptable blackouts and increased rates.
  Second, the bill eliminates a provision dating back to the 1992 Cable 
Act which has prevented a cable operator from dropping a broadcast 
signal during a Nielsen ratings ``sweeps week.'' With no such 
prohibition for a broadcaster that pulls their signal during a retrans 
dispute, H.R. 4572 creates regulatory parity and ensures a more level 
playing field for cable operators and broadcasters.
  Finally, while I support provisions intended to modernize the video 
marketplace, I continue to have deep concerns about repealing the cable 
set-top box integration ban prior to the industry-wide adoption of a 
successor to the CableCARD. With an eye to the future, we can fulfill a 
goal I set out to achieve nearly 20 years ago and that is to give 
consumers an alternative to renting a set-top box from their local 
cable company each month.
  I thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Walden for their leadership in 
bringing H.R. 4572 to the House floor and I urge my colleagues to join 
me in supporting this important legislation.
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4572, 
the STELA Reauthorization Act.
  The Energy and Commerce Committee worked several months to put 
together this bipartisan legislation that will reauthorize the 
Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act through the end of this 
decade. It is necessary that the House and Senate reauthorize STELA, 
which governs our nation's retransmission regulations, before it 
expires at the end of this year.
  Included in this bipartisan bill is language that closely resembles 
legislation that I introduced with my Republican colleague, Rep. Bob 
Latta, that will repeal the FCC's integration ban.
  Once enacted, this provision will end the burdensome integration ban, 
which has cost

[[Page H6592]]

consumers and businesses over $1 billion since 2007 and has impeded 
innovation and energy efficiency.
  Section 6 of this legislation is a surgical approach that will end 
this antiquated tech mandate while preserving FCC's authority in the 
retail set-top box market.
  I ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support H.R. 4572 
today. It balances the needs of competing stakeholders and most 
importantly, protecting what's in the best interest of the American 
people, while reauthorizing must-pass legislation and waiting for a 
more appropriate vehicle to address our nation's retransmission consent 
laws and regulations.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the STELA.
  First, I would like to thank Chairman Coble and Ranking Member Nadler 
for holding two Judiciary Committee hearings in the past year where we 
have examined the laws in the satellite television arena in Title 17 of 
the United States Code (U.S.C.), and related issues.
  The relevant part of STELA expires at the end of the year but I am 
sure that those in the industry would have us do something before then 
and preferably before the lame duck session after November.
  I would note the inclusion of a provision in this bill which some 
consumer groups find objectionable because it repeals the integration 
ban which deprives consumers of choice. This is from the Energy and 
Commerce Committee--though hopefully it will be worked out before the 
President signs--because consumers must not be deprived of choices.
  And now that the Supreme Court has decided the Aereo case, we have 
another set of variables on the table.
  I mention the Aereo case because it is the seminal case due to its 
timing but it also reminds us of how ephemeral our work can be in this 
Committee and this Congress.
  Back in 1992 and through all of the other reauthorizations of STELA 
and the concurrent surge of innovation from the late 1990's until 
present day--who could have contemplated the existence of an Aereo, 
HULU, Netflix, or Pandora?
  In doing so we are able to take a walk down the memory lane of analog 
and digital television, the role of cable and satellite providers, vis-
a-vis their network partners.
  It is useful to note that in the 18th Congressional District my 
constituents are able to avail themselves of DISH, Comcast, ATT, and 
even Phonoscope which I believe is one of the oldest in the nation and 
a Houston, Texas company since 1953.
  In looking at these laws, we must note the role of the Copyright 
Office which released a widely-read report on the Satellite Television 
Extension and Localism Act in August 2011 as ordered by the last 
reauthorization, and the GAO report which focused on consumer issues.
  Americans from Houston, Texas, Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, and 
all across this great nation benefit from a broadcast system which 
consists of the laws which undergird the system, buffeted by the policy 
and practices by which transmitters, providers, artists, writers, 
musicians, and other creators of all stripes benefit.
  The system stands on principles of balance and fairness which allow 
for continued innovation while not infringing on the property rights of 
  In my state, I see satellite dishes in urban and rural areas but it 
seems like a higher percentage of rural homes have DISH or DIRECTV than 
in the cities and towns. Is that an accurate observation and if so, 
  What is the justification for a 30 foot outdoor rooftop antenna being 
the standard for measuring whether a home can get a broadcaster over-
the-air signal?
  Who has 30 foot antennas on their rooftops these days? Can folks even 
go out and buy those and install them easily?
  Shouldn't the standard reflect the consumer realities and be changed 
to a regular indoor antenna that can be picked up at most electronics 
  What are the criteria for a household to be considered `unserved'? 
Does the current definition of unserved households adequately account 
for those homes that do not receive over-the-air signals?
  This will be the 6th reauthorization of STELA but to my knowledge 
there has never before been a discussion of these blackouts, because 
they simply didn't happen in the past like they do today. We've gone 
from zero blackouts to 12 in 2010 and now 127 in 2013.
  Viewers in my state have experienced their fair share of blackouts 
and I stand with them in saying: we don't like them.
  We must all agree that blackouts must stop.
  The statutory framework for the retransmission of broadcast 
television signals has been based on a distinction between local and 
distant signals.
  The signals of significantly viewed stations and the signals of in-
state, out-of-market stations in the four states that satellite 
operators were allowed to import into orphan counties under the 
exceptions in SHVERA, originate outside the market into which they are 
imported; in that regard, they are distant signals and they have been 
subject to the Section 119 distant signal statutory copyright license.
  Since significantly viewed stations and the ``exception'' stations 
can be presumed to be providing programming of local or state-wide 
interest to counties in particular local markets, arguably that content 
could be viewed as local to the counties into which they are imported 
and should be treated accordingly.
  STELA modified the Copyright Act to treat those signals as local, 
moving the relevant provisions from Section 119 to Section 122.
  If a broadcaster opts to negotiate a retransmission consent 
agreement, cable companies are no longer required to broadcast that 
signal pursuant to the must-carry requirement. Furthermore, if 
negotiations for retransmission consent fail, cable companies are not 
permitted to retransmit the broadcast signals that they have not been 
granted a license to retransmit. This is precisely what has happened in 
the dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS Broadcasting.
  My concern is that when retransmission consent negotiations fail, 
consumers often look to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to 
mediate the dispute. However, the FCC actually has very little 
authority over retransmission consent negotiations. The Communications 
Act requires that programming be offered on a non-discriminatory basis, 
and that the negotiations be conducted in good faith.
  The FCC has the authority to enforce both of these requirements, but 
does not appear to have the authority to force the companies to reach 
an agreement, or the ability to order the companies to continue to 
provide programming to consumers who have lost access while the dispute 
is being resolved. Therefore, as was seen in the debacle that was the 
TWC-CBS negotiation, unless negotiations are not occurring in ``good 
faith'' the FCC has little power over retransmission consent 
  STELA clarified that a significantly viewed signal may only be 
provided in high definition format if the satellite carrier is passing 
through all of the high definition programming of the corresponding 
local station in high definition format as well; if the local station 
is not providing programming in high definition format, then the 
satellite operator is not restricted from providing the significantly 
viewed station's signal in high definition format.
  Studying What the Impact Would Be If the Statutory Licensing System 
for Satellite and Cable Retransmission of Distant Broadcast Signals 
Were Eliminated
  The United States Copyright Office has proposed that Congress abolish 
Sections 111 and 119 of the Copyright Law, arguing that the statutory 
licensing systems created by these provisions result in lower payments 
to copyright holders than would be made if compensation were left to 
market negotiations. According to the Copyright Office, the cable and 
satellite industries no longer are nascent entities in need of 
government subsidies, have substantial market power, and are able to 
negotiate private agreements with copyright owners for programming 
carried on distant broadcast signals.
  Congress must have a role in the broadcasting space but whether that 
is doing away with compulsory licensing or becoming even more involved 
is what needs to be discussed.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 4572, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  The title was amended so as to read: ``A bill to amend the 
Communications Act of 1934 and title 17, United States Code, to extend 
expiring provisions relating to the retransmission of signals of 
television broadcast stations, and for other purposes.''.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.