A diverse group of creative industry companies, advocacy groups, labor unions, associations, and programmers that raised concerns in April and May about the Federal Communications Commission’s initial proposal to regulate the set-top box market, citing concerns about its potential harmful impact on copyright and content creators’ ability to be compensated for their work, released the following statement on the revised FCC proposal announced last week.
“The creative community, with near unanimity, has made clear from the start that we support competition in the set-top box market. We do not profit from set-top box fees and welcome new distribution opportunities for our creative content. But it cannot come at the expense of the millions of Americans who make a living in the film, television, and music industries. By all reports, the FCC’s revised set-top box proposal fails to address concerns we have repeatedly raised. Instead, the FCC creates an unacceptable and unworkable de facto compulsory licensing regime that requires creators to allow their work to be shared across multiple platforms without compensation and without regard to the creators’ rights to exclusively control their distribution. That’s authority the FCC does not have. This one-sided proposal undermines the value of creative works, shrinks revenue streams from which creators make a living, and threatens the hard-fought wages and benefits of creative industry workers.
As the U.S. Copyright Office observed in its letter questioning the Chairman’s original approach, content licenses are the foundation of the modern video economy and have ushered in an era of unprecedented innovation, growth, and quality in video and TV. But a de facto compulsory license would undermine this foundation, diminishing creators’ rights under the Copyright Act and forcing one-size-fits-all licensing terms on an industry that is as varied and diverse as the movies, music and shows we make.”