Last week, the Senate approved a reauthorization of STELA, the new bill called STELAR (the “STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014”), adopting the version that had been approved by the House of Representatives earlier in the month. In addition to simply giving satellite television companies (essentially DISH and DirecTV) the a five-year extension of their rights to rebroadcast the signals of over-the-air television stations without authorization from every copyright holder of the programming broadcast on those stations, STELAR made other changes to both the Communications and Copyright Acts that will have an impact on TV station operators once this bill is signed by the President. The Presidential signing is expected before the end of the year. [Update, 12/5/2014 – the President signed the Bill yesterday evening, so it is now law]
Some of the important provisions for TV stations contained in this bill include provisions that impact not only the relationship between TV stations and satellite TV companies, but also ones that have a broader impact on the relationship of TV stations with all MVPDs, including cable systems. There is also a provision actually providing more latitude for LPTV stations to negotiate carriage agreements. Some of the specific provisions of this bill include:
JSA Extension: STELAR will give TV stations currently operating with a Joint Sales Agreement with another station in their market which they cannot own under the current multiple ownership rules 6 more months to terminate such operations – until December 19, 2016 (after the next Presidential election). See our discussion of the changes in JSA attribution here and here.
Continue Reading Congress Passes STELAR – Renewing Authorization of Satellite Carriers Carriage of TV Stations – With Some Important Changes to JSA, Retransmission Consent and Market Modification Rules