The Association of Public Television Stations has created the Digital Rights Coalition to lobby for broadening noncommercial stations' exemptions from copyright law to reflect new delivery platforms.
Under current copyright law, noncom stations are allowed to 1) use copyrights audio in their shows without asking permission or paying, so long as no commercial use is made of them; 2) use published music, pictures or art works so long as they pay a license fee; and 3) teachers may record public TV shows for classroom use so long as the use is within seven days of initial airing and the copy they destroyed.
It is unclear whether streaming and downloading of digital online content falls under those exemptions, and APTS wants to establish that it is. "This ambiguity limits distribution and increases costs," said APTS spokeswoman Tania Panczyk-Collins.
The new coalition will come up with a plan for how to update them, then pitch that to Congress.
The coalition will also support the American Archive. Congress just last week approved a request by noncommercial broadcasters to use some of their DTV conversion funds to digitize library programming.