Reps. Seek Copyright Office Info on Set-Tops

A bipartisan quartet of House members has asked the Copyright Office for info on the FCC's set-top box proposal.

Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) sent a letter to the office Friday, according to a copy obtained by B&C.

"We ask that the Copyright Office, as the expert agency responsible for administering the Copyright Act and advising Congress on copyright law and policy, provide us a written analysis of the potential copyright implications of the FCC's pending 'set-top box' proposal including an explanation of the general copyright principles at issue."

At an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee, Blackburn and others expressed concerns about the proposal, and Blackburn said she had talked to the Copyright Office and it had issues with the impact of the FCC proposal on content. At the hearing, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel also said she had talked to the office and confirmed it had concerns.

Rosenworcel has said the initial proposal, which she voted for but had reservations about, is flawed and a different approach is needed.

Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, joined Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), its first vice chair, back in May to call on the FCC to pause its set-top box proposal until the Congressional Research Service and Government Accountability Office complete studies of the impact of the proposal on diverse and minority media.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.