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Local TV “Out of Market” Copyright Royalty Claims due July 31

Some television stations are carried on cable and satellite systems outside their local market. Stations that are carried outside their local service area may be eligible to file a copyright royalty claim with the U.S. Copyright Board. These annual royalty claims must be filed by July 31. According to the DC law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP:

“Under the federal Copyright Act, cable systems and satellite operators must pay license royalties to carry distant TV signals on their systems.  Ultimately, the Copyright Royalty Board divides the royalties among those copyright owners who claim shares of the royalty fund. Stations that do not file claims by July 31, 2024, will not be able to collect royalties for carriage of their owned programming outside their local service area during 2023.
To file a cable royalty claim, a television station must have aired locally produced programming of its own and had its signal carried outside of its local service area by at least one cable system in 2023.  Television stations with locally produced programming whose signals were delivered to subscribers located outside the station’s Designated Market Area in 2023 by a satellite provider are also eligible to file royalty claims.  A station’s distant signal status should be evaluated and confirmed by communications counsel.”

Thus, if your station is carried on a cable system or satellite service outside your local DMA market, you may be eligible for payment. You should check with your counsel to see if you qualify for payment.

You can find a detailed analysis and explanation from our friends at Pillsbury here.




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