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sion of services, facilities, and equipment, whether or not related to the establishment or operation of a cable system.
(d)(1) Nothing in this title shall be construed as prohibiting a franchising authority and a cable operator from specifying, in a franchise or renewal thereof, that certain cable services shall not be provided or shall be provided subject to conditions, if such cable services are obscene or are otherwise unprotected by the Constitution of the United States.
(2) In order to restrict the viewing of1 programming which is obscene or indecent, upon the request of a subscriber, a cable operator shall provide (by sale or lease) a device by which the subscriber can prohibit viewing of1 a particular cable service during periods selected by that subscriber. 2
(3)(A) If a cable operator provides a premium channel without charge to cable subscribers who do not subscribe to such premium channel, the cable operator shall, not later than 30 days before such premium channel is provided without charge
(i) notify all cable subscribers that the cable operator plans to provide a premium channel without charge;
(ii) notify all cable subscribers when the cable operator
plans to offer a premium channel without charge;
(iii) notify all cable subscribers that they have a right to request that the channel carrying the premium channel be blocked; and
(iv) block the channel carrying the premium channel upon the request of a subscriber.
(B) For the purpose of this section, the term "premium channel" shall mean any pay service offered on a per channel or per program basis, which offers movies rated by the Motion Picture Association of America as X, NC-17, or R.
(e) Within one year after the date of enactment of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the Commission shall prescribe regulations which establish minimum technical standards relating to cable systems' technical operation and signal quality. The Commission shall update such standards periodically to reflect improvements in technology. No State or franchising authority may prohibit, condition, or restrict a cable system's use of any type of subscriber equipment or any transmission technology.
(f)(1) Any Federal agency, State, or franchising authority may not impose requirements regarding the provision or content of cable services, except as expressly provided in this title.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to
(A) any rule, regulation, or order issued under any Federal law, as such rule, regulation, or order (i) was in effect on September 21, 1983, or (ii) may be amended after such date if the rule, regulation, or order as amended is not inconsistent with the express provisions of this title; and
1 The amendments made by section 303(a)(23) and section 304(a)(11) of Public Law 103-414 (108 Stat. 4295 and 4297) added the word "of" several times.
2 This compilation executes amendments contained in section 304(a)(12)(A) and (B) of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (P.L. 103-414) even though such section referred to section 624(d)(2)(B) of the Communications Act of 1934.
(B) any rule, regulation, or order under title 17, United States Code.
(g) Notwithstanding any such rule, regulation, or order, each cable operator shall comply with such standards as the Commission shall prescribe to ensure that viewers of video programming on cable systems are afforded the same emergency information as is afforded by the emergency broadcasting system pursuant to Commission regulations in subpart G of part 73, title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.
(h) A franchising authority may require a cable operator to do any one or more of the following:
(1) Provide 30 days' advance written notice of any change in channel assignment or in the video programming service provided over any such channel.
(2) Inform subscribers, via written notice, that comments on programming and channel position changes are being recorded by a designated office of the franchising authority.
(i) Within 120 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Commission shall prescribe rules concerning the disposition, after a subscriber to a cable system terminates service, of any cable installed by the cable operator within the premises of such subscriber.
SEC. 624A. [47 U.S.C. 544a] CONSUMER ELECTRONICS EQUIPMENT COMPATIBILITY.
(a) FINDINGS.-The Congress finds that
(1) new and recent models of television receivers and video cassette recorders often contain premium features and functions that are disabled or inhibited because of cable scrambling, encoding, or encryption technologies and devices, including converter boxes and remote control devices required by cable operators to receive programming;
(2) if these problems are allowed to persist, consumers will be less likely to purchase, and electronics equipment manufacturers will be less likely to develop, manufacture, or offer for sale, television receivers and video cassette recorders with new and innovative features and functions;
(3) cable operators should use technologies that will prevent signal thefts while permitting consumers to benefit from such features and functions in such receivers and recorders; and
(4) compatibility among televisions, video cassette recorders, and cable systems can be assured with narrow technical standards that mandate a minimum degree of common design and operation, leaving all features, functions, protocols, and other product and service options for selection through open competition in the market.
(b) COMPATIBLE INTERFACES.
(1) REPORT; REGULATIONS.-Within 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Commission, in consultation with representatives of the cable industry and the consumer electronics industry, shall report to Congress on means of assuring compatibility between televisions and video cassette recorders and cable systems, consistent with the need to prevent theft of cable service, so that cable subscribers will be able to
enjoy the full benefit of both the programming available on cable systems and the functions available on their televisions and video cassette recorders. Within 180 days after the date of submission of the report required by this subsection, the Commission shall issue such regulations as are necessary to assure such compatibility.
(2) SCRAMBLING AND ENCRYPTION.—In issuing the regulations referred to in paragraph (1), the Commission shall determine whether and, if so, under what circumstances to permit cable systems to scramble or encrypt signals or to restrict cable systems in the manner in which they encrypt or scramble signals, except that the Commission shall not limit the use of scrambling or encryption technology where the use of such technology does not interfere with the functions of subscribers' television receivers or video cassette recorders. (c) RULEMAKING REQUIREMENTS.
(1) FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED.-In prescribing the regulations required by this section, the Commission shall consider―
(A) the need to maximize open competition in the market for all features, functions, protocols, and other product and service options of converter boxes and other cable converters unrelated to the descrambling or decryption of cable television signals;
(B) the costs and benefits to consumers of imposing compatibility requirements on cable operators and television manufacturers in a manner that, while providing effective protection against theft or unauthorized reception of cable service, will minimize interference with or nullification of the special functions of subscribers' television receivers or video cassette recorders, including functions that permit the subscriber
(i) to watch a program on one channel while simultaneously using a video cassette recorder to tape a program on another channel;
(ii) to use a video cassette recorder to tape two consecutive programs that appear on different channels; and
(iii) to use advanced television picture generation and display features; and
(C) the need for cable operators to protect the integrity of the signals transmitted by the cable operator against theft or to protect such signals against unauthorized recep
(2) REGULATIONS REQUIRED.-The regulations prescribed by the Commission under this section shall include such regulations as are necessary—
(A) to specify the technical requirements with which a television receiver or video cassette recorder must comply in order to be sold as "cable compatible" or "cable ready"; (B) to require cable operators offering channels whose reception requires a converter box
(i) to notify subscribers that they may be unable to benefit from the special functions of their television
receivers and video cassette recorders, including functions that permit subscribers
(I) to watch a program on one channel while simultaneously using a video cassette recorder to tape a program on another channel;
(II) to use a video cassette recorder to tape two consecutive programs that appear on different channels; and
(III) to use advanced television picture generation and display features; and
(ii) to the extent technically and economically feasible, to offer subscribers the option of having all other channels delivered directly to the subscribers' television receivers or video cassette recorders without passing through the converter box;
(C) to promote the commercial availability, from cable operators and retail vendors that are not affiliated with cable systems, of converter boxes and of remote control devices compatible with converter boxes;
(D) to ensure that any standards or regulations developed under the authority of this section to ensure compatibility between televisions, video cassette recorders, and cable systems do not affect features, functions, protocols, and other product and service options other than those specified in paragraph (1)(B), including telecommunications interface equipment, home automation communications, and computer network services;
(E) to require a cable operator who offers subscribers the option of renting a remote control unit—
(i) to notify subscribers that they may purchase a commercially available remote control device from any source that sells such devices rather than renting it from the cable operator; and
(ii) to specify the types of remote control units that are compatible with the converter box supplied by the cable operator; and
(F) to prohibit a cable operator from taking any action that prevents or in any way disables the converter box supplied by the cable operator from operating compatibly with commercially available remote control units.
(d) REVIEW OF REGULATIONS.-The Commission shall periodically review and, if necessary, modify the regulations issued pursuant to this section in light of any actions taken in response to such regulations and to reflect improvements and changes in cable systems, television receivers, video cassette recorders, and similar technology.
SEC. 625. [47 U.S.C. 545] MODIFICATION OF FRANCHISE OBLIGATIONS. (a)(1) During the period a franchise is in effect, the cable operator may obtain from the franchising authority modifications of the requirements in such franchise
(A) in the case of any such requirement for facilities or equipment, including public, educational, or governmental access facilities or equipment, if the cable operator demonstrates
that (i) it is commercially impracticable for the operator to comply with such requirement, and (ii) the proposal by the cable operator for modification of such requirement is appropriate because of commercial impracticability; or
(B) in the case of any such requirement for services, if the cable operator demonstrates that the mix, quality, and level of services required by the franchise at the time it was granted will be maintained after such modification.
(2) Any final decision by a franchising authority under this subsection shall be made in a public proceeding. Such decision shall be made within 120 days after receipt of such request by the franchising authority, unless such 120-day period is extended by mutual agreement of the cable operator and the franchising authority.
(b)(1) Any cable operator whose request for modification under subsection (a) has been denied by a final decision of a franchising authority may obtain modification of such franchise requirements pursuant to the provisions of section 635.
(2) In the case of any proposed modification of a requirement for facilities or equipment, the court shall grant such modification only if the cable operator demonstrates to the court that
(A) it is commercially impracticable for the operator to comply with such requirement; and
(B) the terms of the modification requested are appropriate because of commercial impracticability.
(3) In the case of any proposed modification of a requirement for services, the court shall grant such modification only if the cable operator demonstrates to the court that the mix, quality, and level of services required by the franchise at the time it was granted will be maintained after such modification.
(c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), a cable operator may, upon 30 days' advance notice to the franchising authority, rearrange, replace, or remove a particular cable service required by the franchise if
(1) such service is no longer available to the operator; or (2) such service is available to the operator only upon the payment of a royalty required under section 801(b)(2) of title 17, United States Code, which the cable operator can document
(A) is substantially in excess of the amount of such payment required on the date of the operator's offer to provide such service, and
(B) has not been specifically compensated for through a rate increase or other adjustment.
(d) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), a cable operator may take such actions to rearrange a particular service from one service tier to another, or otherwise offer the service, if the rates for all of the service tiers involved in such actions are not subject to regulation under section 623.
(e) A cable operator may not obtain modification under this section of any requirement for services relating to public, educational, or governmental access.
(f) For purposes of this section, the term "commercially impracticable" means, with respect to any requirement applicable to a