On June 8, 2017, the FCC’s Consumer and Public Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice reminding MVPDs of their upcoming obligation to pass through a secondary audio stream containing audible emergency information when they permit consumers to access linear programming on second screen devices over the MVPD’s network as part of their MVPD services. The compliance deadline for this requirement is July 10, 2017.
Background. On April 9, 2013, pursuant to the Twentieth Century Video Accessibility Act of 2010, the FCC released an Order adopting rules that require video programming distributors, a category that includes MVPDs, to pass through an audio translation of on-screen emergency information text crawls. Under the existing rule, emergency information provided visually during non-newscast video programming must be accompanied by an aural tone. Under the new rule, which went into effect May 26, 2015, emergency information must be accompanied by an aural tone and also be made audibly accessible to individuals who are blind or visually-impaired through the use of a secondary audio stream. Although local broadcast stations typically create and insert emergency information in an on-screen crawl, the rule applies to all video programming providers and distributors.
In 2015, the FCC released an additional Order concluding that MVPDs must pass through a secondary audio stream containing audible emergency information when they permit consumers to access linear programming on tablets, smartphones, laptops and similar devices over the MVPD’s network as part of their MVPD services. The FCC adopted this rule to ensure that individuals who are blind or visually impaired will be provided with accessible emergency information when they watch linear programming on “second screen” devices as part of their MVPD services.
Second Screen Devices. By July 10, 2017, MVPDs must ensure that any application or plug-in they provide to consumers to access linear programming over an MVPD’s network on mobile and other devices can pass through an audible representation of emergency information, including the aural tone. MVPDs’ obligation is limited to linear services that are received via an MVPD’s broadband connection or if it is video that comes over a coaxial or satellite connection that is converted to IP in the home gateway. It does not apply to video programming provided “over-the-top” via the Internet, which can be accessed by an MVPD subscriber using either an MVPD-provided connection, or a third-party internet service provider or broadband connection.
Copyright Office to Allow Statements of Account to be Signed and Filed Electronically
On May 19, 2017, the Copyright Office adopted a rule permitting cable systems to electronically sign and submit Statements of Accounts (“SOAs”). Cable systems will be able to take advantage of this new rule beginning with SOAs covering the January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017 accounting period (2017/1), which are due to the Copyright Office by August 29, 2017.
Background. Under Section 111 of the Copyright Act, cable operators may take advantage of a compulsory licensing system under which cable systems may make secondary transmissions of copyrighted works so long as the system operator complies with various conditions, including filing semiannual SOAs and paying a semiannual royalty fee.
Changes to the Filing Process. Previously, SOAs required a handwritten signature of a person of authority and the submission of an original and a copy via physical mail to the Copyright Office. The new rule permits electronic signatures and submissions of 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 submitting these excel-based SOAs electronically must sign the form using an electronic or "s-signature" (e.g., /s/ John Smith) and submit the form in native Excel format via email to email@example.com. MVPDs must submit one email per SOA as the Office will not accept batch SOA filings. There is a file size limitation of 20 MB per submission. The Copyright Office will confirm receipt using the email address designated by the filer in Space N of the form.
Cable operators may continue to use the paper-based forms, which can now be signed with an electronic signature (e.g., /s/ John Smith), and then submitted via physical mail or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For paper forms submitted via physical mail, a legible copy of the SOA must still be submitted together with the original.
The payment process has not changed.
If you have any questions about copyright forms or fees, please contact Scott Friedman at (312) 372-3930 or email@example.com or Bruce Beard at or (314) 394-1535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.