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Tuesday, July 22, 2014, Alert No. 2,678.
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House Passes NIST Reauthorization Bill

7/22. The House passed HR 5035 [LOC | WW] by voice vote, after a brief discussion. This bill would reauthorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and remove the National Security Agency (NSA) from the NIST information systems standards setting process.

This bill authorizes the appropriation of $850 Million for the NIST for Fiscal Year 2014, and $855.8 Million for FY 2015.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) stated in a release that " My one concern with H.R. 5035 is the low authorization level. I hope that when this bill goes to conference with the Senate, we can agree to give NIST" a higher authorization for appropriations.

See also, story titled "NIST Authorization Bill Would Remove NSA's Statutory Role in Setting Computer Security Standards" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,676, July 17, 2014.

The Senate has not passed this bill.

House Passes STELA Reauthorization Bill

7/22. The House passed HR 4572 [LOC | WW], the "STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014", by voice vote.

This bill provides five year extensions of the expiring exemptions and statutory license in the communications and copyright statutes that allow satellite television companies to have access to certain broadcast content.

The bill also prohibits television broadcasters from coordinating the negotiation of retransmission consent agreements, prohibits cable operators from deleting or repositioning TV stations during sweeps week, eliminates the FCC's integration ban, and makes other changes to the Communications Act.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee (HCC), stated that this is a "must pass bill" that "eliminates the costly cableCARD integration ban that has increased the cost of cable-leased set-top boxes and made them less energy efficient, evens the playing field for cable and satellite providers when it comes to protecting broadcast signals during Nielsen sweeps, brings fairness to retransmission consent negotiations by barring broadcast stations from jointly negotiating with programming distributors, and ensures that broadcasters who have had their business models upended by recent FCC actions indeed have adequate time to make the changes necessary to comply with the new rules." See, Congressional Record, July 22, 2014, at Page H6590.

Rep. Peter WelchRep. Peter Welch (D-VT) (at right) stated that "These narrow changes only begin to scratch the surface of the broken video marketplace. In my view, Congress should revisit the entire video regime and update the corresponding laws to better represent the 21st century marketplace, to drive competition, and, most importantly, to provide more benefits to consumers." See, Congressional Record, July 22, 2014, at Page H6589.

STELA Extension. Rep. Greg Walden (D-OR), the sponsor of the bill, stated that this bill "will ensure that 1.5 million subscribers in hard-to-reach areas, including many in my home State of Oregon, will continue to receive vital news and information through the television. The STELA Reauthorization Act extends the copyright and retransmission consent provisions for distant signals retransmitted by commercial satellite providers for 5 years." See, Congressional Record, July 22, 2014, at Page H6589.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (HJC), elaborated that the Section 119 "license ensures that when our constituents do not have access to a full complement of local network television stations, they can have access, through satellite television carriers, to distant network television stations. This helps ensure that consumers in rural areas, like my congressional district, have the same access to news and entertainment options that consumers in urban areas enjoy." See, Congressional Record, July 22, 2014, at Page H6590.

HR 4572 is the bill approved by the House Commerce Committee (HCC) on May 7. HR 5036 LOC | WW], the "Satellite Television Access Reauthorization Act", is the bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) approved on July 10. Both bills address STELA reauthorization. However, HR 4572 also contains several other changes to communications law.

HR 5036 is a short bill that amends the provision of the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. 119) necessary to provide the five year extension. Section 119 is the distant into local statutory license. See also, story titled "House Judiciary Committee Approves Satellite Television Access Reauthorization Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,674, July 15, 2014.

The version of HR 4572 approved by the House on July 22 adds the language of HR 5036 as Title II of HR 4572.

Section 101 of the just passed bill amends the retransmission consent provisions of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 325(b)) necessary to provide a five year extension.

Without this bill, the exemptions and license would expire at the end of this year. This bill extends the them through December 31, 2019.

STELA is an acronym for the title of the previous bill that provided for the extensions. It was the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010. The STELA was S 3333 [LOC | WW] in the 111th Congress. See also, story titled "Obama Signs Satellite TV Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,089, May 28, 2010.

Retransmission Consent. Section 102 addresses retransmission consent negotiations. It would prohibit television broadcasters from coordinating the negotiation of retransmission consent agreements.

Rep. Walden explained that "broadcast stations in a single market will no longer be able to negotiate jointly with pay-TV providers. Pay-TV subscribers will no longer have to worry about losing more than one signal should a programming distributor be unable to reach its retransmission consent agreement with a broadcast station."

The retransmission consent regulatory regime was established by the Cable Act of 1992. 47 U.S.C. 325 provides that "No cable system or other multichannel video programming distributor shall retransmit the signal of a broadcasting station, or any part thereof, except ... with the express authority of the originating station".

Broadcasters can charge cable companies and other MVPDs for retransmission of their programming. The companies have been negotiating retransmission consent contracts for 18 years. Broadcasters are content with the current regime. Broadcasters argue that the existing retransmission consent regime works and should continue, and that market negotiations for new retransmission consent agreements should be allowed to run their course.

However, MVPDs and some other non-broadcasters argue that the broadcasters never paid for the spectrum that they use, and benefit from the government imposed must carry regime, and should not now be allowed to engage in brinksmanship and threats of service blackouts when retransmission consent contracts expire.

HR 4572 would amend 47 U.S.C. 325(b)(3)(C) to require the FCC to write rules within nine months of enactment that "prohibit a television broadcast station from coordinating negotiations or negotiating on a joint basis with another television broadcast station in the same local market ... to grant retransmission consent under this section to a multichannel video programming distributor, unless such stations are directly or indirectly under common de jure control permitted under the regulations of the Commission.''.

Matthew Polka, head of the American Cable Association (ACA), praised passage of this bill. He stated in a release that "Importantly, the bill includes a ban on retransmission consent bargaining collusion by separately owned local TV stations serving the same market. That provision builds on a similar bipartisan collusion ban adopted by the Federal Communications Commission on March 31."

See, FCC's Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, adopted and released on March 31, 2014. It is FCC 14-29 in MB Docket No. 10-71.

Michael Powell, head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), also praised this bill. He stated in a release that it "appropriately protects consumers from anticompetitive harm by preventing separately owned broadcast stations in local markets from jointly coordinating or participating in negotiations for retransmission consent."

No Deletion or Repositioning of TV Stations During Sweeps Week. Rep. Walden stated that this section "evens the playing field for cable operators and broadcasters during sweeps weeks by removing a government restriction on cable's ability to drop broadcast signals during the Nielsen sweeps."

Section 104 would amend 47 U.S.C. 534(b)(9) to provide that within 90 days of enactment the FCC shall revise its rules by "removing the prohibition against deletion or repositioning of a local commercial television station during a period in which major television ratings services measure the size of audiences of local television stations."

Integration Ban. Section 105 repeals the FCC's integration ban.

Rep. Walden stated that this section "repeals the FCC's integration ban on cable-leased set-top boxes. That clears the way for innovation and investment by lifting an unnecessary regulatory burden that has cost the cable industry and its consumers who pay the $1 billion -- $1 billion, Mr. Speaker -- since 2007."

The NCTA's Powell stated that "By eliminating the FCC's Integration Ban, the legislation removes an unnecessary technology mandate that imposes higher costs and energy use on cable customers who lease set-top boxes while offering no benefits."

The ACA's Polka stated that the "ACA is also pleased that the House STELAR bill repeals the FCC rule requiring cable operators to deploy set-tops boxes (STBs) with a separate security module known as the CableCARD. This regulation has proved to be costly, burdensome and, by the FCC's own analysis, ineffective in creating a retail market for cable STBs."

Summary of Other Provisions. Section 106 would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to write a report within 18 months that "analyzes and evaluates the changes to the carriage requirements currently imposed on" MVPDs by the Communications Act and FCC regulations "that would be required or beneficial to consumers, and such other matters as the" GAO "considers appropriate, if Congress implemented a phase-out of the current statutory licensing requirements set forth under sections 111, 119, and 122 of title 17 ..."

Section 107 would require "satellite carriers" to submit annual reports to the FCC containing specified data regarding retransmission of television broadcast signals.

Section 108 would require the FCC to write a report on "the extent to which consumers in each local market ... have access to broadcast programming from television broadcast stations ... located outside their local market, including through carriage by cable operators and satellite carriers of signals that are significantly viewed", and "whether there are technologically and economically feasible alternatives to the use of designated market areas ... to define markets that would provide consumers with more programming options and the potential impact such alternatives could have on localism and on broadcast television locally, regionally, and nationally."

Section 103 pertains to deadlines for broadcasters to unwind joint sales agreements (JSAs) in connection with the FCC's obsolete media ownership regulatory regime.

It provides that "In the case of a party to a joint sales agreement (as defined in Note 2(k) to section 73.3555 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations) that is in effect on the effective date of the amendment to Note 2(k)(2) to such section made by the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Report and Order adopted by the Commission on March 31, 2014 (FCC 14-28), and who, not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, submits to the Commission a petition for a waiver of the application to such agreement of the rule in such Note 2(k)(2) (as so amended), such party shall not be considered to be in violation of the ownership limitations of such section by reason of the application of such rule to such agreement until the later of -- (1) the date that is 18 months after the date on which the Commission denies such petition; or (2) December 31, 2016."

Senate. The Senate has not yet passed HR 4572.

On June 10, 2014, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced S 2454 [LOC | WW], the "Satellite Television Access Reauthorization Act of 2014". The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) amended and approved it on June 26, 2014. The full Senate has not yet passed S 2454 either.

S 2454 is a short bill that contains a five year extension of the Section 119 statutory license, and related matters. It contains none of the amendments to the Communications Act that are in the House bill.

More Information. Walter McCormick, head of the US Telecom, stated in a release that "We commend the House for taking this pro-consumer action to increase competition in the video marketplace and look forward to working with the Senate on further improvements needed to update our nation's video policy."

Dish and Directv also expressed support for this bill in a release.

See also, story titled "House Commerce Committee to Mark Up STELA Reauthorization Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,655, May 7, 2014, and story titled "HCC/SCT Marks Up STELA Reauthorization Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,636, March 25, 2014.)

In This Issue
This issue contains the following items:
  House Passes NIST Reauthorization Bill
  House Passes STELA Reauthorization Bill
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, July 23

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for morning hour, and at 12:00 NOON for legislative business. See, Rep. Cantor's schedule.

The Senate will meet at 9:30 AM.

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM. The Heritage Foundation (HF) will host a panel discussion titled "Alliance Challenges in Northeast Asia: Perspectives on U.S.-Japan-South Korea Relations". The speakers will be Takeo Kawamura (Member of the Japanese House of Representatives), Bruce Klinger (HF) and Walter Lohman (HF). Free. Open to the public. Webcast. See, notice. Location: HF, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host a panel discussion titled "The Social Impact of Open Data". The speakers will be Maureen Ohlhausen (FTC Commissioner), Sandra Moscoso (World Bank), Laurie Actman (Penn Center for Innovation), Daniel Castro (ITIF), Brian Rayburn (Symcat), and Emily Shaw (Sunlight Foundation). See, notice. Location: ITIF/ITIC, Suite 610, 1101 K St., NW.

1:00 - 4:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a program titled "Copyright Law and Litigation". The speaker will be Kenneth Kaufman (Manatt Phelps & Phillips). The price to attend ranges from $89 to $129. CLE credits. No webcast. For more information, call 202-626-3488. The DC Bar has a history of barring reporters from its events. See, notice. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K St., NW.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will meet in executive session. The agenda includes consideration of no technology related items. Webcast. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Thursday, July 24

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for morning hour, and at 12:00 NOON for legislative business. See, Rep. Cantor's schedule.

9:30 AM. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled "The Federal Trade commission and Its Section 5 Authority: Prosecutor, Judge, and Jury". The witnesses will be __. See, notice. Location: Room 2154, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Intelligence Committee (HIC) will hold a closed meeting. No webcast. See, notice. Location: Room HVC-304, Capitol Building.

10:15 AM. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) will hold a hearing titled "Legislative Hearing on the Anti-Spoofing Act, the LPTV and Translator Act, and the E-LABEL Act". The witnesses will be __. Webcast. See, notice. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.

10:15 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing on five trial court nominees: Stephen Bough (USDC/WDMo), Armando Bonilla (U.S. Court of Federal Claims), Wendy Beetlestone (USDC/EDPenn), Mark Kearney (USDC/EDPenn), and Joseph Leeson (USDC/EDPenn).  Webcast. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON. The Cato Institute will host a discussion of the book titled "Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice". The speakers will be Sidney Powell (author), Ronald Weich (University of Baltimore law school), Judge Alex Kozinski (USCA/9thCir), and Tim Lynch (Cato). Free. Open to the public. Webcast. Lunch will be served after the program. See, notice. Location: Cato, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW.

12:00 NOON. The National Economist's Club will host a lunch. The speaker will be Kara Reynolds (American University). She will address "Trade Flows and Trade Disputes". Location: Chinatown Garden Restaurant, 618 H St., NW.

1:00 - 2:30 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "The Future of Bulk Data Collection". The speakers will be Yael Weinman (Information Technology Industry Council), Todd Hinnen, Shirin Sinnar, and Elizabeth Goiten. Prices vary. CLE credits. See, notice.

1:00 - 2:30 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "The Fundamentals of Antitrust Economics". The speakers will be David Weiskopf, Donald Stockdale, Laila Haider, Joanna Tsai (advisor to FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright), and Aditi Mehta. Prices vary. CLE credits. See, notice.

TIME CHANGE. 2:00 PM. 1:30 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee" will hold a hearing titled "Copyright Remedies". The witnesses will be __. Webcast. See, notice. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

EXTENDED FROM JUNE 9. Extended deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding whether to eliminate or modify the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules. The FCC adopted and released this FNPRM on March 31, 2014. It is FCC 14-29 in MB Docket No. 10-71. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 79, No. 69, April 10, 2014, at Pages 19849-19860, and Public Notice (DA 14-525) extending deadlines.

Friday, July 25

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Cantor's schedule.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to Part VI(B-H) of its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding closed captioning of video programming. The FCC adopted this FNPRM on February 20, 2014, and released it on February 24, 2014. It is FCC 14-12 in CG Docket No. 05-231. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 79, No. 59, March 27, 2014, at Pages 17093-17106.

Deadline to submit to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) nominations for membership on the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC). See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 79, No. 118, June 19, 2014, Pages 35152-35153.

Monday, July 28

Day one of a two day event hosted by the Minority Media & Telecom Council (MMTC) titled "12th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference". See, notice. Location: Embassy Suites Convention Center Hotel, 900 10th St., NW.

Tuesday, July 29

Day two of a two day event hosted by the Minority Media & Telecom Council (MMTC) titled "12th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference". See, notice. Location: Embassy Suites Convention Center Hotel, 900 10th St., NW.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing titled "Judicial Nominations". Webcast. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:15 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing titled "Nanotechnology: Understanding How Small Solutions Drive Big Innovation". The witnesses will be __. Webcast. See, notice. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "Blurred: Lines: Intersection of Antitrust and Consumer Protection". The topics to be discussed include false advertising and deception as a component of an antitrust claim, Retractable Technologies v. Becton Dickinson (USDC/EDTex, D.C. No. 07-CV-0250), and Section 5 of the FTC Act. The speakers will be Valentina Rucker (Wilson Sonsini), Christopher Cole (Crowell & Moring), Jonathan Klarfeld (Ropes & Gray), David Balto, and Diana Moss (American Antitrust Institute). The price to attend ranges from free to $25. No CLE credits. See, notice. Location: Wilson Sonsini, 5th floor, 1700 K St., NW.

1:00 - 2:30 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "Surviving a Cyber Attack on Your Law Practice". The speakers will be Lucy Thomson, Randy Sabett, Jill Rhodes, and Vincent Polley. Prices vary. CLE credits. See, notice.

1:00 - 2:30 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast panel discussion titled "Navigating Legal Issues of Healthcare in the Cloud". The speakers will be Jean Marie Pechette, Ericka Watson, and Dominique Shelton (Alston & Bird) The price to attend ranges from $150 to $195. CLE credits. See, notice.

2:00 - 5:00 PM. The House Foreign Affairs Committee's (HFAC) Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will hold a hearing titled "A U.S.-EU Trade Agreement: Bolstering Economic and National Security". The witnesses will be Todd Cohen (eBay), James Jones, Jeffrey Schott (Peterson Institute for International Economics), and Celeste Drake (Trade and Globalization Policy Specialist). Webcast. See, notice. Location: Room 2172, Rayburn Building.

Wednesday, July 30

3:00 - 8:00 PM. The American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of International Law will host a program on the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) and its Section 337 intellectual property exclusion proceedings. The first panel will be comprised of USITC Commissioners. The deadline to submit questions for the Commissioners is July 23. The second panel is titled "Jurisdiction Under Section 337". The speakers will be Monty Fusco (Fish & Richardson), Barbara Murphy (Foster Murphy Altman & Nickel), Stephen Smith (Cooley), and Geoffrey Goodale (Trade Law Advisors). Section 337, which is codified at 19 U.S.C. 1337, provides, in part, that "The importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation by the owner, importer, or consignee, of articles that ... infringe a valid and enforceable United States patent or a valid and enforceable United States copyright registered under title 17". This section empowers the USITC to issue exclusion orders. Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served after the program. The price to attend is $25. No CLE credits. See, notice. Location: King & Spalding, Suite 200, 1700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

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