WASHINGTON (CN) - The Library of Congress' Copyright Office has issued new rules governing the refunds copyright holders may receive from royalty payments made by cable operators.
To retransmit television licensed by the FCC, cable operators must pay the Copyright Office royalty fees every six months.
The government invests the royalties in U.S. Treasury securities, and distributes the funds to copyright holders.
In 2010, Congress enacted the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which changed the government's method for calculating royalty obligations.
Under STELA, "the royalty fee is based on the communities where a cable system actually offers distant broadcast signals, instead of calculating royalties based on carriage of the signals throughout the system as a whole," the Copyright Office wrote.
The act also provides that a cable operator is exempt from a copyright infringement action if it used the earlier subscriber group method to calculate its royalty obligations before 2010.
If a cable operator overpaid royalties before STELA was enacted, it would only be refunded once the operator had paid outstanding royalties.
The final rule is effective Feb. 8.
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