Thu Sep 12, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
The five members of the RV and outdoors coalition are urging their members to support reauthorization of copyright regulation that allows RVers to watch their hometown broadcasts as they travel away from home.
Known as the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act, the bill would allow satellite TV providers to continue providing their customers with access to their favorite local programming while away from home.
The coalition includes ARVC, RVIA, RVDA, the Family Motor Coach Association and the Escapees RV Club and is said to represent 25 million RVers.
The reauthorization of Section 119 of the federal Copyright Act, is a “the narrow exemption that makes it possible for RVers to access their favorite TV programming regardless of where are,” a statement from ARVC says. “Without this exemption, it would be a violation of copyright law for a satellite provider to allow an RVer to access a New York broadcast, for example, while camping at remote national park in a different market.”
The effort to remove the copyright exemption was initiated by the broadcast media companies earlier this year, according to a report in an industry publication in July, confirmed ARVC Government Affairs Director Jeff Simms.
Smaller communities in remote locations complained they were only allowed to view broadcasts from cities in other states, such as Durango, Colo., only seeing broadcast TV from Albuquerque, N.M. As a result, the National Association of Broadcasters lobbied to require local Denver broadcasts replace the out-of-state cable feeds.
An unintended consequence of the change to local broadcasts only prohibited satellite TV providers from sending hometown TV stations to their customers while they were away from home. The industry had been successful in squeezing the copyright exemption into federal law, but now the broadcast networks look to close that window.
In a story published in RV News earlier this summer, the five industry associations wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging its members to pass the satellite reauthorization bill.
Now, the industry coalition is asking its membership to keep the pressure on Congress to reauthorize the exemption and allow RVers and over-the-road truckers to watch the local broadcasts they choose.
The coalition has posted a form that allows industry members and RVers to support the effort with a letter to their Congressmen and and Senators asking them to reauthorize the satellite act and renew the exemption. The form is available at here.