House, Senate Agreement On Satellite Bill Language

Boucher expects legislation to pass before Feb. 28 deadline

There is House and Senate agreement about language on a
satellite reauthorization bill, according to House Communications &
Internet Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.).

At the Congressional Internet Caucuses State of the Net
conference in Washington,
Boucher, who is one of the founders of the caucus, said that now the issue was
finding the right legislative vehicle, but that he expected the legislation to
pass and be signed by the president "well before" the Feb. 28

"We now have an agreed-upon version of the [bill],
House and Senate. We have been working with the leadership to identify an
appropriate vehicle to which this renewal legislation can be attached. We are
down to one or two candidates at this point."

The license was supposed to expire at the end of last year
unless the bill to reauthorize it passed, but instead an extension was passed
Dec. 19 as an amendment to the defense appropriations bill, which became a
vehicle for several bills with deadlines.

The blanket license, which allows satellite companies to
import distant network signals to viewers who can't receive a viewable version
of their local affiliate, would have expired on Dec. 31.

Boucher also said he would be circulating "soon" a
discussion draft of privacy legislation.  He told B&C early in his tenure as chairman that the online privacy
bill was chief priority. He says what the bill will do is "replicate and
reflect the current best business practices with regard to targeted

He says the goal is not to "disrupt" targeted
advertising, but to inform consumers what information is being collected about
them and how it is used, and then give them control via a "combination of
opt-in and opt out opportunities."