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AD HOC COMMITTEE
FOR A FAIR COPYRIGHT LAW
Re: HR. 222) - its royrighe Pre vision Leasiation
Ear Carensran Kastenner:
In reference to our later to you dont re 19, 1975, ench sed herew.. is a rer.!'afe ; assediy t... Be...re, wirelesti... is ress tre any Vaion 17an, the fayrent ! Sit fers tv she trievision Syu'ona fr.ate al. ve referenced imati a.
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so "pons that the Honorable Jonn Glenn and Honorable Robe *-:5 arj Hororabie Wayne L. Hays, our Congressman, do ..: Within their power to defeat Senate Bill S.1361.
OMNIBUS COPYRIGHT RE! SIJ: !CG
That this resolution shall take effect and be in foro :> after the earliest period allowed by law,
WHEREAS, the muster of lai li'y of cable and, through them cable subscribers to pay copyr.nt to; . television signals carried on cable television is now the Congress of the United States in the Danibus Copyright is: Bill:
W!IEREAS, the 1974 annual reting of the United States of Mayors in San Diego did unanı"ously approve Resolution urging the United States Senate not ti duop. iegisiation ".. piace an extra surcharge on the viewing om te evision pron: via a cable television system;
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WHEREAS, this resolution 6.9 ignoreand 103 no effe action of tne United states Senate in tro
-ber 9th. Senate Bill s.1361;
WEREAS, the United States Suprer. on has twice
of broadcast signals by cable relevision is nos
terai copyright law for which coryrighit royaltar quireu co be paid; and
W.ERAS, as a matter of pure logic and econoric then of copy.ight royalties for carriage of broadcast signa.. teievas.on is improper and can result in consurers pay. royalties twice;
WHEREAS, the cable television indus-ry, still in : should not be overburdened with required fies and char of which must be subsidized by the ultimate consumer, adres c television subscriber;
WHEREAS, the continuation of quality cable television in and for the community of Bellaire, Co, is irfartant well-being, education, and informed sta.ws of our citizens;
WHEREAS, adoption of this copyrigh. legisiation by the iwi Congram ng archio Sites will be more in Cavitud, und was selectively "tax" the cable viewing residents os milaire, 09
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Couni i of the ..ty Bellaire, Onio:
si. That the Congress of the Unit..d States is urge:. from the Onnibus Copyright Revision Bin Jil danju.ge whic!. require a copyright payment for carries of broadcast sin. - 0.1 capie television.
$2. Urges that the Honorable Jonn Glenn and Honorable Robert Taft, Senators and Honorable Wayne L. Hays, our Congressman, do every sing within their power to defeat Senate Bill s.1361.
$3. That this resolution shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The Chair would now like to call George J. Barco, general counsel for the Pennsylvania Cable Television Association.
Mr. Barco, you may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF GEORGE J. BARCO, GENERAL COUNSEL,
PENNSYLVANIA CABLE TELEVISION ASSOCIATION
Mr. Barco. First, may I point out here on the map what part of Pennsylvania I come from, so that you know the place from which I come.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties and the Administration of Justice—I purposely mention that title because that is one of the reasons I'm here today because I believe that the orbit of your jurisidiction can afford us some of the relief we are seeking. Having seen you gentlemen on television in the execution of your duty, I was reinforced in my belief.
Further, Mr. Chairman, I want you to know that we have a statement here that is longer than the 5 minutes allocated to us, and we would ask that it be included in the record. I have prepared my remarks to fit within the time which has been allowed to me.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The Chair appreciates that, Mr. Barco, and your statement and the Pennsylvania Cable Television Association policy position statement of March 1975, will be received in the record.
Mr. Barco. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am George J. Barco of Meadville, Pa. For the past 23 years I have been a part owner and president of several cable television companies, and I have served as general counsel for the past 20 years of Pennsylvania Cable Television Association. Pennsylvania is the State where commercial CATV started some 27 years ago, and where more communities and a greater percentage of the television viewing public secure reception by CATV service than in any other State.
For the past 10 years particularly, I have been concerned that the views and concepts, and, in turn, many aspects of government treatment accorded to the industry have been influenced to a great extent by a pervasive preoccupation, inside and outside the industry, with the technical and theoretical capabilities of cable television to provide broad television and communications services.
This preoccupation has been obsessive to such an extent that the financial, technological, and practical requirements for such an evolution have not been fully analyzed, or recognized, on the one hand, and, at the same time, the significance of the television reception function being provided by CATV has been discounted and the real nature of the service today confused and distorted.
The Pennsylvania position on copyright places the television reception function in clear focus and places that function in proper perspective, both with relation to the subscribers it presently serves, and with relation to the capabilities for cable to improve and equalize television reception opportunities for the public generally. The Pennsylvania position also recognizes the desirability of realizing the potential of cable television for providing increased program choices in part through microwaving of additional signals, acknowledging that this function is distinct from the television reception function, and that
providing such service may be subject to reasonable copyright payment.
It is no secret that there is a fundamental and serious division in the industry on the issue of copyright payment. The Pennsylvania position in essence represents the view of a substantial segment of the industry that is opposed in principle to the concept of across-the-board copyright liability, and particularly, copyright liability for television reception of signals received off the air.
The other substantial segment of the industry--and particularly on the board of directors of the XCTA-has been willing, and even eager, to agree to payment of copyright fees "across the board" in response to an assortment of influences, including the appeal of an expedient response to the pressure for copyright payment; the desperate hope that such a commitment will evoke some response from the Federal Communications Commission in the direction of relaxing its very restrictive regulations of CATV; and the expectation that such payment from the existing industry will be the means of securing the availability of microwaved signals thought to be a prerequisite for the economic viability of cable television for the large cities and the cable communications industry of the future.
One measure of the extent of the division is that some 18 State and regional associations have either drafted a resolution for action, or have taken action, in opposition to the NCTA position of copyright payment “across the board".
The basic principle of the Pennsylvania position that off-the-air television reception should not be subject to the burdens and risks involved in a commitment to copyright payment is founded on the pertinent facts and circunstances. The broadcasters and copyright owners make use of the public resource of the airwaves without payment.
In addition, the policy of the 1934 Communications Act favors the widest possible distribution of broadcast services for the general benefit and welfare of all citizens. As a consequence, there must accrue a fundamental right in the public to utilize on an equal basis all signals receivable off the air, whether by conventional rooftop antenna, or by cable television.
I am unable in the time allotted to me to further detail the philosophical and factual basis for the Pennsylvania position, and I have, therefore, attached the position in full to this statement for the record.
In summary, the Pennsylvania position so far as payment of copyright fees is as follows:
One. No copyright fees should be pavable for television reception of off-the-air signals, regardless of the total number involved.
Two. No copyright fees should be pavable for basic trlevision reception, whether secured off the air, or by microwave. While we have stated that basic television reception should include the national networks, three independent television stations, and one educational television station, we recognize that there is room for differences of opinion as to what basic television reception should include.
Three. ('opyrisht foes would be mavable on the reception of microwaved signals, other than those required for basic television reception in two above, at the rate of two-tenths of 1 percent per microwaved channel.