Additional Information on the New Filing Fees Authorized under the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA)

The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA) amended §708(a) of the copyright law to provide that a fee be charged for filing Statements of Account (SOAs).  As explained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, see 77 FR 18742, the Office uses an activity based cost methodology to calculate the full cost of each activity for which a fee is set.  Since fees for filing cable and satellite SOAs are being established for the first time, the Office spent a great deal of time reviewing costs and ensuring that costs were reasonable, and that the filing fees reflected no more than 50 percent of the cost for the collection and administration of the statements of account and the royalty fees deposited with such statements, thus appropriately apportioning costs between the filers of the statements of account and the copyright owners who are the beneficiaries of the royalty pools that previously supported the program costs.

Included in the fee study is the time the Examining Section of the Licensing Division spends reviewing statements, the time spent by the Fiscal Section staff for fee intake, the time spent by the Information Section staff processing statements and answering questions related to filings, and current costs associated with the reengineering of the Licensing Division.  In assessing these costs, the Office used the information from the 2010/2 and the 2011/1 accounting periods to calculate the annual costs.  Based on this information, the Office determined that the cost for processing cable statements of account and administering the associated royalties was $2.414 million.  Thus, the goal in setting filing fees for the cable statements of account was to recover no more than half of the annual costs associated with the processing and administration of the statements, and the proposed fees achieve this goal.  The Office established a three-tiered fee schedule that reflects the relative complexity of the different forms and is structured to recover in the aggregate no more than half the costs associated with the filing of these forms.  Based upon the number of statements of account received during the relevant accounting periods examined, the anticipated recovery of costs from fees is $1.157 million, representing 47.9 percent of the program costs.

The Office employed the same methodological approach in setting the filing fee for the satellite statement of account.  The Office calculated the cost of processing the statements of account filed under Section 119 at $1,256 based on the same activities used to cost the cable statements of account, and set the proposed fee to recover just under 50 percent of that cost.  In this case, the fee is expected to recover $600 in fees, representing 47.8 percent of the costs.  As discussed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the filing fee of $75 reflects the need for some examination of the statement of account beyond that afforded to the SA1 and SA2 forms filed by cable operators, but they do not require the particularized examination that is afforded to the complex Form SA3 cable statement of account.