×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Objections fly around sat bill

Solons, online companies moving to change, block law

WASHINGTON — Congress’ plan to pass a bill that would allow the satellite industry to deliver local signals is getting bogged down as new objections are being raised to the legislation.

Powerful Senate Commerce Committee chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas) has vowed to block the law unless he gets a loan guarantee for rural subscribers removed. And now online service providers such as America Online object to a provision that would bar them from putting local TV station programming on the Internet. Some patent holders, too, are among those who have raised concerns about the legislation.

The problems have erupted even after the House voted 411-8 in favor of the legislation. It has not yet passed the Senate.

Outcome uncertain

“Mass confusion and uncertainty prevail,” said one congressional staffer in summing up the legislative situation. But one broadcast industry source predicted that in the end the legislation will pass. “This is a very popular bill,” the lobbyist said.

Hollywood has never liked the idea that the Internet could become a conduit for someone in one city to watch programming that originates in another. Not only does it weaken the value of a movie or television show by making it universally available for the price of a local copyright fee, but it also increases opportunities for pirates. For the same reasons, sports leagues are also concerned about the ability of Web surfers to download games that are meant for broadcast in other regions.

Patent objections

Small-patent holders are raising concerns about the bill, and more objections are likely to emerge as long as it lies in bicameral limbo.

House and Senate staffers are scrambling to resolve the issues, but the clock is ticking. Congress plans to adjourn next week and is not expected to reconvene until after Christmas.

More TV

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett to Receive Inaugural Golden Globe Television Special Achievement Award

    Carol Burnett will receive the inaugural Golden Globe television special achievement award, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA) announced Tuesday. Aptly named the Carol Burnett Award, this new honor will celebrate the highest level of achievement in the medium. Burnett, who is a five-time Globe winner — the most decorated in the television category — [...]

  • Audrey HepburnOn the film set of

    Audrey Hepburn to Be Subject of New TV Drama Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    A TV drama series about the life of Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn is being developed by Wildside, the expanding Italian production company behind “The Young Pope” and “My Brilliant Friend,” with plans to start shooting in 2020. The Oscar-winning actress was one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces of the 20th century and was celebrated for [...]

  • An Overview of Ventana Sur’s 2018

    Ventana Sur: How Producers Can Meet the OTT Demand and Challenge

    BUENOS AIRES —  Jonathan Olsberg, who speaks at Ventana Sur, calls it a “production deluge.” According to Ampere Analysis’ Guy Bisson, talking in a podcast last week, in the third quarter of 2018 the number of unique SVOD homes in 16 maturer markets around the world overtook the number of unique pay TV homes. Also, [...]

  • Acorn TV

    AMC’s Best-of-British Streamer Acorn TV Launches in 30 New Territories

    Acorn TV launched in 30 new markets Tuesday, the biggest wave of international launches to date for the AMC-owned streaming service, which focuses on British and English-language drama. The platform is now live in Australia and New Zealand, India, Spain, the Nordics, the Benelux countries and South Africa. The international rollout started in June, when Acorn [...]

  • NBCU Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches

    NBCU’s Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches in Three New Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    It’s easier to keep up with the Kardashians in the Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg after NBCUniversal launched its reality-TV streaming service, hayu, in those countries Tuesday. The service went live with about 6,000 episodes of unscripted fare from NBCUniversal’s lineup, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Made in Chelsea” and “The Real Housewives” and [...]

  • Arrow -- "Elseworlds, Part 2" --

    'Elseworlds, Part 2' Recap: Batwoman's 'Arrowverse' Story Begins

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 2” the second part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 10. “Arrow’s” leg of the “Elseworlds” crossover had a little more to think about than “The Flash’s,” mainly because it served as the first introduction to Ruby Rose’s Batwoman. For [...]

  • Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats

    Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats Pipeline (EXCLUSIVE)

    Michael and David Uslan, the father and son producing team with credits that include “The Dark Knight” and “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch” have struck a cluster of deals that makes them a two-way conduit for TV formats between Hollywood and Asia. U2K, a company that includes the Uslans and Jon Karas (“Believe in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content