Tauzin Sets June 11 Copyright Vote

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Washington -- Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is planning a June
11 vote on a bill that would roll back a sharp increase in satellite-carrier copyright
fees that had been approved by the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel and the Librarian
of Congress.

"We've been given the green light to move the
CARP bill," Tauzin spokesman Ken Johnson said last Thursday. He added that the June
11 date would change if more pressing legislation came up.

Tauzin's bill would grant temporary relief to
direct-broadcast satellite carriers from having to pay 27 cents per subscriber, per month
for each superstation and distant-network signal sold to home-dish owners.

The 27-cent rate took effect in January. The old rate was 6
cents for distant networks and either 14 cents or 17.5 cents for superstations. Cable
operators, meanwhile, pay about 2.5 cents for network signals and 9.8 cents for
superstations.

"We believe that passage of the CARP bill is vitally
important to our efforts to try to provide parity between cable and DBS," Johnson
said.

The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a bill sponsored
by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that takes a similar step.

Johnson said Tauzin will attempt to resolve jurisdictional
problems with Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). Hyde's panel has
control over copyright legislation.

Tauzin, chairman of the House Telecommunications
Subcommittee, will probably not seek to use the CARP bill as a vehicle to authorize DBS
carriers to provide local signals in local markets, or to take on the associated
must-carry issues.

"We want a clean CARP bill because it improves the
possibility of getting it passed by both houses and getting it signed by the
president," Johnson said. "Billy's still committed to resolving the
local-into-local controversy, but he will probably address it in separate
legislation."

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