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ACA President CEO Matthew M. Polka Comments On U.S. Copyright Office's Section 302 Report

PITTSBURGH, August 30, 2011 - "For more than 35 years, Section 111 has cleared copyright for cable carriage of ‘distant' TV signals. In adopting this license, Congress recognized that many cable systems in rural areas, especially those on the outskirts of Designated Market Areas (DMAs), offered ‘distant' signals because ‘local' TV signals were unavailable or limited. 

"Rural consumers benefited then, and still do today. For some consumers, ‘local' TV stations are actually located in another state and the importation of ‘distant' TV stations can provide them with in-state news and political coverage.  For others, ‘distant' TV signals provide vital weather warnings that come prior to the event instead of during or after. 

"ACA, therefore, is troubled that the Copyright Office would target the ‘distant' TV license for elimination in its new report. As ACA and others have made clear, abolishing this license would harm consumers, particularly those who reside in rural areas and value receipt of out-of-market TV signals.

“While ACA does not agree with the primary recommendations of the Copyright Office, ACA appreciates that the Copyright Office urged Congress to evaluate the concerns of stakeholders who operate with limited resources, like smaller cable operators, to determine whether lawmakers should give special consideration to these entities before phasing out any licenses.

"In all, the Copyright Office's recommendations to eliminate the cable and satellite compulsory licenses must be put in context. The Copyright Office first recommended abolishing the cable license in 1981. It has made this same recommendation to Congress numerous times in reports over the last 30 years, most recently in 2008.  Yet, despite these many suggestions, Congress has always decided that the best course of action for consumers was to renew the license. ACA hopes that Congress will once again stay this wise course."

About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 900 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.6 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business.  For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/

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