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Mr. LOVRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just want to say this. That we certainly want to confirm everything that Commissioner Rozelle of the National Football League has testified to, as well as Mr. Carothers, his attorney. We are in accord with them on everything-statement of facts, as well as remedies and suggestions, how we can get the protection that we need.
The way it looks to me is this. The right to blackout that was given to us by this Congress in 1961. Also, Judge Grim, back in 1953 gave us this right. And we set forth Judge Grim's statement in Mr. Foss' statement. So all that we are asking of this Congress is to protect the right that you have given us, protect the rights that the courts have given us, and protect the rights that we have given ourselves by our own bylaws, where we prohibit the right of piracy as far as other telecasts are concerned.
So, Mr. Chairman, that is it in a nutshell, and I am not going to take any more of your time. As far as a remedy, we leave that in your hands. We subscribe wholeheartedly to what Mr. Rozelle has testified to and what Mr. Carothers testified to. And, although I haven't heard the testimony yet of Paul Porter, I know very well I am going to agree with that, too.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. I appreciate your statement, because it anticipates a question or two I had. But you are in accord with the preceding testimony, and apparently the Buffalo Bills' fans will still have to drive to Èrie to watch blacked-out games.
Mr. Foss. Thank you.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. May I ask you this, however, I didn't bring it up with the preceding witnesses-- whether you make a distinction between nonprofit boosters which are not really in the nature of profit CATV's which amplify signals in certain areas, put in in the early days on a nonprofit basis, sometimes by communities, whether these would be included as well in your definition of the inclusion of CATV?
Mr. LOVRE. I am sorry I can't give you a flat answer to that. But I feel whatever protection we need to protect our live sports broadcasts, that is what we need.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. To the extent that you do not need the protection—and I again advert to Governor Foss' reference to areas like South Dakota and beyond—where it isn't a question of the metropolitan piracy that you suffer in many of your league cities, but it is a question of small communities not being able to get any type of suitable transmission as where they find themselves geographically in valleys in remote areas, where they need some type of additional equipment or additional transmitter other than a television station as such; what remedy do we have for that!
Mr. LOVRE. Mr. Chairman, I think we can go along with that.
Mr. TENZER. Commissioner, I do not see on our schedule of persons to testify anyone to speak on behalf of the players. May I ask this question? In the views presented here by the early witnesses and yourself, do you regard the players as the performers, in fact, the entertainers, the same as those who might participate in a motion picture? Do I understand that correctly?
Mr. Foss. Yes, sir.
Mr. TENZER. If the value of the television rights which you sell are reduced by virtue of the “piracy” of the telecast or reproduction of the performance, would it reduce your ability to pay the performers in accordance with or in the manner they are paid today?
Mr. Foss. Yes, sir.
Mr. TENZER. If the practice becomes more extensive and there is unlimited use of the right to reproduce the telecast, it might reduce your ability to pay performers to a minimum so that we might lose the opportunity for getting men to engage in this performing art?
Mr. Foss. That is right.
Mr. TENZER. What we are now discussing has not been mentioned in either Commissioner Rozelle's statement or in your statement, and that is why I bring this out, unless some other witness will testify as to the rights of the individual players.
Mr. Foss. Well, sir, we could have the players here, or their representatives here, in a hurry.
Mr. TENZER. I don't think that is necessary, and I am not suggesting it.
Mr. Foss. No.
Mr. TENZER. I am only trying to bring it out, so that our record would be complete. I don't want to go into the question of salaries, or compensation, or anything like that. But your ability to employ and adequately compensate these players would be curtailed if there was a free use of the performance and you couldn't sell it?
Mr. Foss. Yes, sir. The television package, when it comes right down to it, today is a major item when it comes to professional sports. And, of course, you get all of the various discussions relative to that one subject, but I would be the first to say that, had it not been for television, there wouldn't be an American Football League. We were given two things as a result of television. No. 1 was the nice cash that comes in very handy when you are in any business; No. 2, exposure. And now, because we have it, that doesn't mean that they wag us, or that they dictate to us. I would have to say publicly that, in my associations with the networks, two of them up to the present, time, never once have they demanded that we do thus and so. They bend over the other way, to stay out of directing us what to do.
Mr. TENZER. Would you venture a guess as to whether or not professional sports would be able to exist on attendance at the parks alone, without the income from television?
Mr. Foss. They would not be able to maintain their present budget. All you would have to do would be to look at the budget of any one of the professional football teams and you would see that they would absolutely be unable to operate if they just had the income at the stadium...
Then, of course, on top of that, if you had the community antennas shooting you out of the seat, the attendance at the stadium wouldn't be too good, and it gets lonely out there.
Mr. TENZER. Though you are not the commissioner of baseball, am I correct that the same would apply to baseball, too?
Mr. Foss. Yes, sir. They like to have the customers.
Mr. POFF. Mr. Chairman, I understand your response to the chairman's question to be in accord with the position taken by the Register of Copyrights. Section 109, subsection (5) exempts nonprofit, noncommercial translators and boosters.
Mr. Foss. Yes, sir.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Just one question. Do I understand that without television you would not be able to pay these fabulous bonuses to some of these incoming players?
Mr. Foss. Not for over 1 year.
Mr. TENZER. If the chairman will yield. They may not even be able to pay the ordinary compensation to the performers.
Mr. Foss. Yes, sir.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The committee is grateful to both Governor Foss, commissioner of the American Football League, and our former colleague, Mr. Lovre, from South Dakota, for appearing this morning.
Mr. Lovre. Thank you very kindly.
(Subsequently the following was received from Representative Tenzer:)
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., September 17, 1965. HERBERT FUCHS, Esq., Counsel, House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee No. 3. Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR HERBERT: I am enclosing a letter received from the American Football League Players Association, dated September 13, 1965, signed by George W. Ratterman, counsel.
I would like the above letter to be included in the record of the hearings on H.R. 4347 at the point following the testimony of Commissioner Joe Foss. If this is no longer possible, then in the appendix of the hearings.
I am also enclosing a copy of a full page ad, which appeared in the Olean Times Herald, Friday, August 27, 1965, which I believe is too extensive to be printed in full in the record because it lists all of the college football schedules for all games to be played in the East, Midwest, South, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and Far West areas of the United States. What is significant, and what I would like to have included in the record, is the language on the right-hand column, which is directly related to the problem under discussion; namely, the effect of CATV. If you have any questions with respect to this, please telephone me. Sincerely,
HERBERT TESZER, Member of Congress.
52-380—66— pt. 3— 30
(The letter referred to by Mr. Tenzer is as follows:)
Cincinnati, Ohio, September 13, 1965.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN TENZER: Commissioner Joe Foss of the American Football League, who recently appeared before your Subcommittee No. 3 of the House Judiciary Committee, stated that I, as counsel for the American Football League Players Association, would convey to you the players' viewpoint concerning the need for copyright protection of televised professional football games.
For two reasons the players agree wholeheartedly with the position taken by Commissioner Foss that such protection is needed.
First, if community antenna systems are permitted to continue to bring games back into "blacked-out" areas, attendance at games will decrease. Many people will remain at home and watch games on television rather than go to the stadiums. Attendance at games is extremely important to the success of all professional sports. If fewer people attend contests, gate receipts will be reduced and this is bound to affect adversely the players' salaries.
Second, if games are “bootlegged” back into "blacked-out" areas, the television networks which currently have exclusive rights to the telecasts will feel that their contracts are not worth as much as they are currently paying for them. There will undoubtedly be a readjustment of television revenues downward which, of course, will lower the salaries paid to players.
Professional football players have a relatively short playing life somewhat less than 5 years on the average. By the time a player has reached his early thirties he is generally considered too old for active participation, and only a small percentage of the players are able to remain in the professional ranks as coaches.
A young man who has participated for a number of years in a professional sport frequently finds it difficult to transfer into business or industry since he has forfeited the years which most young people devote to establishing a foundation in lifetime careers. Therefore, we feel it is extremely important that everything possible be done to protect the present salary scale of professional athletes, almost all of whom have wives and families to support.
We very much appreciate your giving consideration to the views of the players and if we can supply any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Respectfully,
GEORGE W. RATTERMAN. (The advertisement enclosed by Mr. Tenzer is as follows:)