Last updated: December 3, 2009 - 11:30pm
On December 3, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 394-11 the Satellite Home Viewer Reauthorization Act of 2009 (H.R. 3570). The bill combines the House Commerce and Judiciary versions and reauthorizes the satellite compulsory license for carriage of distant network affiliate TV station signals for another five years, a license that expires at the end of the year unless a new bill, or a stopgap extension, is passed. It also deals with some cable carriage and various copyright issues, including an audit process for copyright owners so they can make sure they get the royalties they are entitled to, stiffer penalties for infringement and clarification that their royalties apply to digital multicast streams carried by satellite. The bill must now either be reconciled with two different Senate versions, or the Senate could vote to approve the House version. Either way, something has to happen or the satellite license to carry distant TV network signals expires at year's end.