Court Upholds 27-Cent Satellite Rate


Washington -- A federal court has upheld a decision that
sharply increased the fee that satellite carriers pay to copyright owners to sell
distant-network signals and superstations to home-dish owners.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit held Jan. 29 that the monthly 27-cent rate, applied on a per-signal and
per-subscriber basis, was not adopted in an arbitrary manner.

The Librarian of Congress approved an increase from six
cents for a network signal and either 14 cents or 17.5 cents for a superstation. The
Librarian acted on the recommendation of a special panel.

"We have no basis for second-guessing that
determination," the court said in a two-page opinion.

Pending Senate legislation would cut the superstation fee
by 30 percent and the network fee by 45 percent. The 27-cent rate has been in effect since
Jan. 1, 1998.