U.S. Copyright Office Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Relating to Cable, Satellite, and DART License Reporting Practices
Issue No. 692 - December 1, 2017

The Copyright Office has published a notice of proposed rulemaking to update its regulations governing the royalty reporting practices of cable operators under section 111 of the Copyright Act, and to update related statement of account filing requirements. With this proposed rule, the Office intends to resolve issues raised in an earlier notice of inquiry directed towards cable reporting practices, as well as address additional issues that have subsequently developed. The Office proposes a number of changes to the statement of account forms, including increasing the specificity of subscriber and rate information requested, and a new section to address the Copyright Royalty Board’s proposed rule, assuming it is adopted, requiring covered cable systems to pay a separate per-telecast royalty (a “sports surcharge”) in addition to the other royalties that cable systems must pay under section 111. In addition, the Office proposes to amend the regulatory definition of “cable system” to reflect both the Copyright Office’s longstanding position that such systems are limited to systems providing only localized retransmissions, and the uniform case law holding that internet-based retransmission services are excluded from the section 111 compulsory license.

To the extent this rulemaking proposes changes to the Office’s section 111 regulations governing the processing of refunds, supplemental or amended payments, or calculation of interest, as well as case management procedures, the Office proposes similar changes with regard to the regulations governing the section 119 and Chapter 10 licenses for satellite carriers and digital audio recording devices or media.

The proposed regulations and instructions on how to submit a comment are available here. Written comments must be received no later than January 16, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.