07.07.2014 1

Senate Commerce Committee urged to pass clean version of STELA

broadcastquestions2By ALG Staff

Americans for Limited Government president Nathan Mehrens today urged Senator John Thune (R-SD) to, “join the Senate Judiciary Committee in passing a clean version of STELA reauthorization.”

The STELA reauthorization which is scheduled to expire this year, governs the relationships between broadcasters and cable providers.

Mehrens describes the law in his letter saying, “Congress has recognized broadcasters’ right to compensation for the product of their labor from cable and satellite providers for retransmission of their stations’ valuable signals to subscribers. Under the current system, broadcasters and pay television providers negotiate in the free market to reach mutually beneficial agreements — with agreements successfully reached an overwhelming majority of the time.  It would be a mistake for the federal government to hobble broadcasters’ right to negotiate fair market value for their product.”

While Mehrens expressed a preference that the law be allowed to expire entirely as a start to deregulating the marketplace, he strongly urged that if, “it must be extended, there is no question that any reauthorization should exclude changes to the retransmission consent system.”

As in most legislation, the STELA reauthorization is rife with opportunities for various special interests to try to put the government’s thumb on the scale in their industry’s behalf.  Passage of clean legislation this year, with a view toward a 2015 comprehensive review of the Communications and Copyright Act will allow a more meaningful approach to dealing with the complex issues presented.

Read the letter that was sent to Republican members of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Want to know more about STELA – here is a link to an article in The Hill from ALG’s Rick Manning

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