|December 5, 2013|
Previously published on December 2013
On November 29, the Copyright Office published its final schedule of filing fees for cable and satellite semiannual Statement of Account (SOA) submissions:
Discussion. The new fees are the end result of a process that began in 2010 with the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which directed the Copyright Office to establish cable and satellite filing fees that were not to exceed one-half of the cost necessary to cover reasonable expenses incurred by the Copyright Office for the collection and administration of SOAs and any royalties deposited with such statements.
The Office initially proposed a schedule of fees in March 2012 under which Form 3 cable operators would pay $500 per form and satellite operators would pay $75 per form. However, the Office subsequently revised the proposed schedule, increasing the fees for both the cable Form SA3 and the satellite form to $725.
NCTA opposed both the original and revised filing fee schedules on the grounds that they were unreasonable and that the Copyright Office had failed to provide adequate information on the cost studies it used in formulating the proposed fees. The copyright owners countered with their own oppositions claiming that the fees were not set high enough to cover one-half of the amount that is deducted from the royalty pool to cover the Office’s costs.
In its order, the Copyright Office acknowledged but rejected the objections to its proposed fee schedule. The Office defended its decision to withhold the cost studies underlying the fee proposals, choosing instead to reiterate a description of its methodology that it had previously provided in a meeting with stakeholders and to release a three page spreadsheet of its costs.
Next steps. The new fees will be in effect for the 2013/2 SOA filings that will be due on March 3, 2014. However, it is not yet clear how the Office will implement the filing fee requirement. For example, the Office may amend the current form to add a separate fee payment line or it may create a separate form to be used in calculating an operator’s aggregate fee total. We are in contact with the Office and will provide an update when additional information is available.