Washington -- Over one-dozen organizations filed comments
with the Copyright Office last week in response to EchoStar Communications Corp.'s
request to have the Satellite Home Viewer Act clarified to endorse EchoStar's plan to
deliver local-to-local programming to all homes within a given designated market area.
Most of the comments asked the Copyright Office to withhold
further rulemaking and to leave the local-to-local matter to Congress. EchoStar did not
have the backing of its colleagues in the direct-broadcast satellite industry, as they did
not file comments. Other DBS operators have said publicly that they don't believe
that it's profitable to deliver local signals by satellite.
The National Cable Television Association said the
compulsory license for satellite-delivered network signals is narrowly defined, and
enlarging it would raise "serious concerns regarding competitive parity between cable
operators and DBS operators that transmit local stations."
EchoStar stated that because "satellite carriers do
not exercise any monopoly power" and they are not vertically integrated with
programmers, "must-carry rules are unnecessary for satellite carriers." EchoStar
also argued that because it does not plan to import distant-network signals, it would not
disrupt a network-affiliate broadcaster relationship.