Sen. Hatch worried about copyright protections in FCC's set-top proposal

Sen. Orrin Hatch voiced concerns over the FCC's set-top box proposal, specifically about the proposal's potential to upend carefully negotiated licensing agreements between multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and content providers.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the GOP lawmaker from Utah expressed misgivings with the plan that would make TV programming streams available on third-party devices.

"While you have repeatedly said that copyright law will not be impacted by the proposal, the terms of the licensing agreements between MVPDs and programmers are the key mechanism for protecting the copyrights of content owners, and these are the very terms that third-party devices and apps will be permitted to disregard under the FCC's proposal," Hatch said.

Hatch's worries about copyright protections come during the same week that Democratic House Representatives Anna Eshoo and Mark Takano issued a call to colleagues to support the FCC's initiative to "unlock the box." At the same time, Eshoo and Takano attacked the "aggressive campaign that has spread misinformation" since the proposal was originally issued.

The proposal has also earned support from President Obama as well as groups including Public Knowledge and Common Cause.

On the side of the opposition sits both Republican FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, who this week took the stage during the annual INTX convention to blast the proposal.

The proposal has also been met with opposition from industry groups like NCTA and MSOs including Comcast.

For more:
- read this letter
- read this Morning Consult article

Related articles:
House Dems back FCC's set-top proposal, attack 'aggressive campaign to spread misinformation'
Wheeler: Cable needs to welcome competition and change; FCC not so much
FCC's O'Rielly: Take the current set-top proposal and 'throw it in the garbage'
NCTA's Powell: 'Relentless government assault' has been launched against the cable industry
Comcast tells FCC it's not "feasible" to run its network code on third-party set-tops

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