Scalise, DeMint Introduce Legislation to Deregulate Television Market

December 16, 2011
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act in both the U.S. House (H.R. 3675) and Senate (S. 2008).  The comprehensive video bill repeals compulsory copyright licenses, various mandates on private sector companies and consumers, and FCC broadcast and media ownership rules.

“Over the last several decades, communications and entertainment technology has become more advanced, while the laws governing the industry have remained relatively unchanged,” Scalise said. “Together, decades-old cable and satellite ‘compulsory copyright’ licenses and ‘retransmission consent’ regulations currently influence many aspects of the broadcast programming consumers watch on TV. The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, and the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act ensures that by removing the heavy-hand of government, the market is free to operate in a way that continues to benefit consumers and encourage innovation.”

“The laws and rules governing video services were largely written decades ago, and do not reflect the tremendous technological advancements, dramatic growth of competition, and rapidly changing consumer behavior of the 21st Century,” said Senator DeMint. “If we want to encourage innovation, job creation, and consumer benefits, we need to stop issuing new regulations and instead remove and modernize rules written to address the last century's business and regulatory models.”  

The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act comprehensively deregulates the complex framework of laws and rules governing the video services market. The bill removes government interference from what should be free market business relationships between and among content creators, network programmers, television broadcast stations, and multichannel video programming distributors. The bill maintains intellectual property rights for copyright holders and privacy protections for customers of cable and satellite companies.

“What we now have is a complex web of outdated regulations that must be addressed comprehensively and cannot be dealt with individually, in isolation from one another,” said Senator DeMint. “This bill does not reflect an interest in promoting or protecting one technology over another, or one competitor over another.  It reflects a sincere interest in limiting government involvement and allowing the video service industry compete, innovate and grow. I look forward to working with all stakeholders on modernizing these laws and regulations.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

•    Repeal those provisions of the Communications Act that mandate the carriage and purchase of certain broadcast signals by cable operators, satellite providers, and their customers.  

•    Repeal the Communications Act’s “retransmission consent” provisions and the Copyright Act’s “compulsory license” provisions, thereby allowing negotiations for the carriage of broadcast stations to take place in the same deregulated environment as negotiations for carriage of non-broadcast channels such as Discovery, Food Network, and AMC.

•    Repeal ownership limitations imposed on local media operators, allowing businesses to evolve and adapt to today’s dynamic communications market.

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