Panel dishes good news

The House copyright subcommittee last week approved a bill extending until Dec. 31, 1999, the right of satellite program carriers to deliver network and independent TV station signals to backyard dish owners.

Under the legislation, satellite carriers will pay 17.5 cents per subscriber per month for the indie signals, and 6 cents per subscriber for the network affiliate signal.

The subcommittee also voted to abolish the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, the government agency that doles out copyright payments each year to Hollywood studios and other programmers. The CRT’s function would be replaced by the Library of Congress and a panel of arbitrators to divvy up the coin.

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