[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 19 (Friday, January 28, 2011)]
[Pages 5213-5214]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-1883]



Copyright Office

[Docket No. 2011-1]

Cable Compulsory License: Specialty Station List

AGENCY: Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION: Request for information.


SUMMARY: The Copyright Office is compiling a new specialty station list 
to identify commercial television broadcast stations which, according 
to their owners, qualified as specialty stations under the former 
distant signal carriage rules of the Federal Communications Commission 
(FCC). The list has been periodically updated to reflect an accurate 
listing of specialty stations. The Copyright Office is again requesting 
all interested owners of television broadcast stations that qualify as 
specialty stations, including those that previously filed affidavits, 
to submit sworn affidavits to the Copyright Office stating that the 
programming of their stations meets the requirements specified under 
the FCC regulations in effect on June 24, 1981.

DATES: Affidavits should be received on or before March 29, 2011.

ADDRESSES: If hand delivered by a private party, an original and five 
copies of a comment or reply comment should be brought to the Library 
of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office, Room 401, James Madison Building, 
101 Independence Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20559, between 8:30 a.m. and 
5 p.m. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Office of the 
General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office.
    If delivered by a commercial courier, an original and five copies 
of a comment or reply comment must be delivered to the Congressional 
Courier Acceptance Site (``CCAS'') located at 2nd and D Streets, NE., 
Washington, DC between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The envelope should be 
addressed as follows: Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Copyright 
Office, LM 403, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC 20559. Please note that CCAS will not accept delivery by

[[Page 5214]]

means of overnight delivery services such as Federal Express, United 
Parcel Service or DHL.
    If sent by mail (including overnight delivery using U.S. Postal 
Service Express Mail), an original and five copies of a comment or 
reply comment should be addressed to U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright 
GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Golant, Assistant General Counsel, 
and Tanya M. Sandros, Deputy General Counsel, Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. 
Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 
707-8380. Telefax: (202) 707-8366.


What is a specialty station?

    The FCC regulations in effect on June 24, 1981, defined a specialty 
station as ``a commercial television broadcast station that generally 
carries foreign-language, religious, and/or automated programming in 
one-third of the hours of an average broadcast week and one-third of 
the weekly prime-time hours.'' 47 CFR 76.5(kk) (1981).

How is a station deemed to be a specialty station? \1\

    \1\ Originally, the FCC identified whether a station qualified 
as a specialty station, but after it deleted its distant signal 
carriage rules, it discontinued this practice. See Malrite T.V. of 
New York v. FCC, 652 F2d 1140 (2d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 
1143 (1982).

    Under a procedure adopted by the Copyright Office in 1989, see 54 
FR 38461 (September 18, 1989), an owner or licensee of a broadcast 
station files a sworn affidavit attesting that the station's 
programming comports with the 1981 FCC definition, and hence, qualifies 
as a specialty station. A list of the stations filing affidavits is 
then published in the Federal Register in order to allow any interested 
party to file an objection to an owner's claim of specialty station 
status for the listed station. Once the period to file objections 
closes, the Office publishes a final list which includes references to 
the specific objections filed against a particular station owner's 
claim. In addition, affidavits that are submitted after the close of 
the filing period are accepted and kept on file at the Copyright 
    The staff of the Copyright Office, however, does not verify the 
specialty station status of any station listed in an affidavit.

Why would a broadcast station seek specialty station status?

    Specialty station status is significant in the administration of 
the cable statutory license. 17 U.S.C. 111. A cable operator may carry 
the signal of a television station classified as a specialty station at 
the base rate for ``permitted'' signals. See 49 FR 14944 (April 16, 
1984); 37 CFR 256.2(c).

How does the staff of the Copyright Office use the list?

    Copyright Office licensing examiners refer to the final annotated 
list in examining a statement of account in the case where a cable 
system operator claims that a particular station is a specialty 
station. If a cable system operator claims specialty station status for 
a station not on the final list, its classification as a specialty 
station will be questioned unless the examiner determines that the 
owner of the station has filed an affidavit since publication of the 

How often has the Copyright Office published specialty station lists?

    The Copyright Office compiled and published its first specialty 
station list in 1990, together with an announcement of its intention to 
update the list approximately every three years in order to maintain as 
current a list as possible. 55 FR 40021 (October 1, 1990). Its second 
list was published in 1995. 60 FR 34303 (June 30, 1995). Its third list 
was published in 1998. 63 FR 67703 (December 8, 1998). Its fourth list 
was published in 2007. 72 FR 60029 (October 23, 2007). With this 
notice, the Copyright Office is initiating the procedure for the 
compilation and publication of the fifth specialty station list.

Does this notice require action on the part of an owner of a television 
broadcast station?

    Yes. We are requesting that the owner, or a valid agent of the 
owner, of any eligible television broadcast station submit an affidavit 
to the Copyright Office stating that he or she believes that the 
station qualifies as a specialty station under 47 CFR 76.5(kk) (1981), 
the FCC's former rule defining ``specialty station.'' The affidavit 
must be certified by the owner or an official representing the owner.
    Affidavits are due within 60 days of the publication of this notice 
in the Federal Register. There is no specific format for the affidavit; 
however, the affidavit must confirm that the station owner believes 
that the station qualifies as a specialty station under the 1981 FCC 
    Notwithstanding the above, any affidavit submitted to the Copyright 
Office within the 45-day period prior to publication of this notice 
need not be resubmitted to the Office. Any affidavit filed during this 
45-day period shall be considered timely filed for purposes of this 

What happens after the affidavits are filed with the Copyright Office?

    Once the period for filing the affidavits closes, the Office will 
compile and publish in the Federal Register a list of the stations 
identified in the affidavits. At the same time, it will solicit comment 
from any interested party as to whether or not particular stations on 
the list qualify as specialty stations. Thereafter, a final list of the 
specialty stations that includes references to any objections filed to 
a station's claim will be published in the Federal Register.
    In addition, affidavits that, for good cause shown, are submitted 
after the close of the filing period will be accepted and kept on file 
at the Copyright Office. Affidavits received in this manner will be 
accepted with the understanding that the owners of those stations will 
resubmit affidavits when the Office next formally updates the specialty 
station list. Any interested party may file an objection to any late-
filed affidavit. Such objections shall be kept on file in the Copyright 
Office together with the corresponding affidavit.

    Dated: January 24, 2011.
Maria Pallante,
Acting Register of Copyrights.
[FR Doc. 2011-1883 Filed 1-27-11; 8:45 am]