In 2010, Congress enacted the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (''STELA''), Pub. Law 111–175, which amended the statutory licenses that allow cable and satellite providers to retransmit programs that are embodied in over-the-air broadcast transmissions. In order to use these licenses, cable and satellite providers must file Statements of Account and deposit royalty fees with the U.S. Copyright Office on a semi-annual basis. STELA directed the Register of Copyrights to develop a new procedure to allow copyright owners to audit these filings. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 111(d)(6), 119(b)(2).
The Office will hold a public roundtable on July 9, 2014 beginning at 10:00 a.m. to discuss certain aspects of this procedure. A notice listing the specific topics for discussion was published in the Federal Register (79 FR 31992) on June 3, 2014 (the “Notice”) and is available at http://www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2014/79fr31992.pdf.
The roundtable will be held in the Office of the Register of Copyrights, which is located in Room LM-403 of the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20559. The Office invites copyright owners, cable operators, satellite carriers, accounting professionals, and other interested parties to participate in the discussion. The Office is especially interested in hearing from accounting professionals with experience and expertise in auditing procedures and statistical sampling techniques.
The Office encourages parties that share interests and views to designate common spokespeople to discuss the topics listed in the Notice. The Office also encourages copyright owners and statutory licensees to confer with each other prior to the meeting to identify common ground or areas of disagreement concerning these issues.
To submit a request to participate in the roundtable, please use the form that is posted at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/soaaudit/public-roundtable/. Requests to participate must be received by June 26, 2014, and should include the participant’s name, contact information, and the name of the organization(s) he or she represents (if any). Seating in the room where the roundtable will be held is limited and will be offered first to persons who submitted a timely request. Any remaining seats will made be available on the day of the meeting on a first-come, first-served basis to members of the public who wish to observe the discussion.
At this time, the Office is seeking input only on those topics specifically mentioned in the Notice. Following the roundtable the Office expects to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking, which will set forth a revised proposal for the audit procedure. The notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register and copyright owners, cable operators, satellite carriers, accounting professionals, and other interested parties will be given an opportunity to submit written comments at that time.