ACA Opposes Paying for Individual Multicast Signals

American Cable Association weighs in at Copyright Office against proposed rule change.

The American Cable Association weighed in with the Copyright Office against a proposed change that would boost reporting requirements and could cost cable operators more for delivering distant digital signals.

In a proposal to deal with the new world of TV stations' digital-multicast channels, the Copyright Office is proposing that cable operators pay an additional royalty for multicast streams with different programming from their primary digital signals.

Cable operators that deliver distant network signals to their subscribers are required to pay a royalty to the Copyright Office that is then disbursed to the producers of that programming.

The ACA said the change would not only boost the payment -- a cost that would be passed along to its customers -- but would add "multiple layers" to its accounting statements and impose "expansive" new reporting requirements.

“The digital-television transition is only a change in transmission technology -- nothing about the switch indicates that the new technology should result in changes to the compulsory license scheme,” ACA president Matthew Polka said in announcing the filing. "The Copyright Office should adopt rules and policies that preserve the status quo and ensure a smooth transition to digital.”