From: The Honorable Adam B. Schiff
Sent By: courtney.fogwell@mail.house.gov
Date: 4/29/2016

Dear Colleague,

As the Federal Communications Commission proceeds with a proposed rule for Set Top Boxes, you may have seen or heard suggestions that the content industry is supportive of the FCC’s proposed rule. To the contrary, there are substantial concerns on the part of the content industry, including television, film, and music, regarding the impact of the proposed rule on copyright protections, existing licensing agreements, and the rights of content creators. These concerns are shared across the spectrum, including large studios and record labels, unions, and small and minority owned producers and broadcasters. Promoting competition in the set top box industry is a laudable goal, but we believe the FCC must proceed carefully and listen to the concerns of content creators.

Under the proposed rule, the rights of content owners, who license that content under specific conditions which are negotiated with negotiated with pay-TV providers, are not protected. Instead, a third party box manufacturer would be under no requirement to negotiate a license with a content owner, and could benefit from the broadcast of their works without providing compensation, even if they monetized viewers through advertising or other means. To create such a mechanism allowing third party manufacturers to skirt existing, laboriously negotiated licensing agreements raises significant legal issues, as well as issues of fairness, that are unaddressed in the proposed rule. And it could have the effect of making less content available to consumers in new formats and through new mediums at a time when consumers are benefiting from an explosion in new options to view or listen to their favorite shows, movies, and music.

This rule will have far-reaching implications on the fundamental right of creators to control the fruits of their labors and how they are made available to consumers and the public. Regardless of your views on the FCC’s proposal, we encourage you to take into account the views of the diverse group of content industry stakeholders who strongly oppose the proposal as it currently stands. A list of members of the creative community who have filed comments in opposition or raising serious concerns is at the end of this letter. You can find their full comments on the FCC’s website: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment_search/input

• 21st Century Fox

• A&E Television Networks

• American Association of Independent Music

• American Federation of Musicians

• CASPAN

• CBS Corporation

• Copyright Alliance

• Creative Future

• Crossings TV

• Directors Guild of America

• Feel Good TV

• Freemind Ventures

• Hola! LA, Latin Heat Media

• Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA)

• Individual creators of color, including:  Val Benning, Roger Bobb, Bailey Brown, Holly Carter, Devon Franklin, Tamra Goins, Rob Hardy, Elijah Kelley, Rasheena Nash, Elrick Williams

• International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)

• Manteca Media

• Mnet America

• Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)

• National Music Publishers Association

• Perfect Day Media

• Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

• Revolt Media and TV

• Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAGAAFTRA)

• Scripps Network Interactive

• SoundExchange, Inc.

• Stateless Media

• The Walt Disney Company & ESPN

• Time Warner

• TV One

• Viacom

• VMe TV

Sincerely,

Adam B. Schiff

Tony Cardenas

Gene Green