Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Cable and satellite royalty claims due to the Copyright Royalty Board by 31 July 2013

By Scott R Flick and Lauren Lynch Flick

This advisory is directed to television stations with locally produced programming whose signals were carried by at least one cable system located outside the station’s local service area or by a satellite provider that provided service to at least one viewer outside the station’s local service area during 2012. These stations may be eligible to file royalty claims for compensation with the US Copyright Royalty Board. These filings are due by 31 July 2013 at 5:00pm (EDT).

Under the federal Copyright Act, cable systems and satellite operators must pay licence royalties to carry distant TV signals on their systems. Ultimately, the Copyright Royalty Board divides the royalties among those copyright owners who claim shares of the royalty fund. Stations that do not file claims by the deadline will not be able to collect royalties for carriage of their signals during 2012.

In order to file a cable royalty claim, the television station must have aired locally produced programming and had its signal carried outside of its local service area by at least one cable system in 2012. A station’s local service area is typically its DMA, but it also includes areas in which the station would be considered entitled to carriage under FCC rules that were in effect on 15 April 1976. A station’s distant signal status should be evaluated and confirmed by communications counsel. Similarly, television stations with locally produced programming whose signals were delivered to subscribers located outside the station’s DMA in 2012 by a satellite carrier are also eligible to file royalty claims…

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