Cinnamon Mueller Client Updates


FCC Increases Amount of Required Video Described Programming for MVPDs

On July 12, 2017, the FCC released an Order increasing the amount of video described programming on top-rated broadcast and non-broadcast networks that must be carried from 50 hours per calendar quarter to 87.5 hours per quarter.  Covered broadcast stations and multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) must start providing the additional hours of video description in the calendar quarter beginning on July 1, 2018. 

Under the FCC’s video description rules, MVPDs and broadcast stations must offer audio narration of the action depicted visually in television programming (“video description”).  Video description aids people who are blind or visually impaired by providing an oral narration of visual images present on screen during gaps in dialog or narration.

Background.  Since July 1, 2012, all MVPDs have been required, regardless of size, to “pass through” video description provided on both broadcast and non-broadcast programming.  This requirement only applies if the MVPD has the “technical capability” to pass through the video description and that technical capacity is not being used for another programming-related purpose.  Once an MVPD airs a program with video description it generally must include the video description on all subsequent airings.

In addition, MVPD systems with 50,000 or more subscribers must offer 50 hours of video description, per calendar quarter, for each of the top five non-broadcast channels (USA, TNT, TBS, Disney Channel, and History).  Broadcast affiliates of the top four national networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) located in the top 60 markets must also provide 50 hours per calendar quarter of programming with video description. 

In 2016, the FCC released an NPRM proposing, among other things, to increase the required amount of video described programming for each covered broadcast station or non-broadcast channel from 50 to 87.5 hours per quarter.

New Rules.  Key changes to the current video description rules include:

  • Covered broadcast stations and MVPDs must provide a total of 87.5 hours of video described programming on top-rated broadcast and non-broadcast networks per calendar quarter.
  • 50 hours per quarter must still be provided during prime time or children’s programming.
  • The additional 37.5 hours per quarter being added by the rule change can be provided at any time of day between 6 a.m. and midnight.
  • The networks currently covered by the rules are:  ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT, and USA.  The Commission will update the list of top five non-broadcast networks in July 2018.

If you have any questions about the video description or accessibility rules in general, please contact Scott Friedman at (312) 372-3930 or

Copyright Forms and Fees Due by August 29, 2017

Cable operators must file with the U.S. Copyright Office their Statement of Accounts (Form SA1-2 or SA3) and pay any royalty fees due for the January 2017 – June 2017 accounting period by August 29, 2017. The following forms apply:

  • SA1-2 Short Form. For use by cable systems with semiannual gross receipts of less than $527,600. 
  • SA3 Long Form. For use by cable systems with semiannual gross receipts of $527,600 or more.

Cable operators may now electronically sign and submit their SOAs.   Excel-based SA1-2E Short Form and SA3E Long Form, along with additional instructions regarding the forms, are available for download on the Copyright Office’s Section 111 webpage.  Cable operators may choose to continue to use the paper-based forms as well.

Copyright filings must be accompanied by a filing fee in addition to the royalty payment.  The filing fee is calculated based on the type of form filed:  

SOA Type

Filing Fee

SA-1 ($137,100 or less gross revenues)


SA-2 ($137,101 – $527,599 gross revenues)


SA-3 ($527,600 or more gross revenues)


Operators must also remit the royalty fee and filing fee in a single electronic payment.  If you have any questions about copyright forms or fees, please contact Bruce Beard at (314) 394-1535 or 

FCC Form 477 Due September 1, 2017 

            The next Form 477 is due September 1, 2017.  Telephone, broadband, and interconnected VoIP providers must report information about broadband connections and local telephone service as of June 20, 2017.  

As a reminder, Form 477 must be filed online through the FCC's filing interface.  Instructions for filers can be found here.  Filers can also review a brief summary of the Form 477 changes made in 2014 on the FCC’s website

If you have any questions about Form 477, please contact Scott Friedman at (312) 372-3930 or