House Panel Nears Copyright Vote


Washington -- A House subcommittee is expected to vote
March 18 on a bill that would authorize satellite carriers to serve local markets with
local TV signals.

The bill, sponsored by House Courts and Intellectual
Property Subcommittee chairman Howard Coble (R-N.C.), would not roll back the sharp
increase in copyright fees that satellite carriers pay to beam distant networks and
superstations to dish owners. Coble's bill would require a satellite company that
elects to offer local TV signals to carry all local stations in the market.In the Senate,
the Commerce Committee is expect to vote March 12 on a bill that would block the
27-cent-per-subscriber, per-month rate from taking effect for at least a year.Meanwhile
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced his own
copyright bill that closely tracks Coble's.