FROM SKY REPORT E-NEWS: DBS, Others Square Off on SHVIA Renewal The first of what's expected to be a series of hearings into the re-authorization of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act took place Tuesday, held by the House Subcommittee on Courts, The Internet and Intellectual Property. Lawmakers are debating an extension of the statutory license that allows satellite TV to deliver distant network and superstation programming. The current license is set to expire at the end of this year. David Moskowitz, senior vice president and general counsel at EchoStar and chairman of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, suggested that the satellite TV business should be given a permanent license for distant networks and superstations. Others on the panel - copyright holders represented by the Motion Picture Association of America and TV station owners represented by the National Association of Broadcasters - were not enthusiastic about that proposal. Bob Lee, president and general manager of the CBS affiliate in Roanoake, Va., and NAB's representative at the hearing, said the ability of DBS to deliver distant networks "is plagued by satellite industry abuse." Lawmakers and those testifying also pressed issues concerning the delivery of local TV via satellite into more markets. Lee said broadcasters want to see complete availability of satellite-delivered locals for all 210 DMAs, "and satellite TV clearly is capable of doing so," he said. For his part, Moskowitz addressed discrepancies between cable and satellite and what can be offered for broadcast programming. He said there should be some degree of parity with cable when it comes to regulations governing the carriage of broadcast channels. For example, while cable has virtually unlimited ability to provide broadcast signals – both network and non-network as well as distant or local – to its subscribers, satellite TV providers face restrictions on the broadcast signals they can provide to customers. Lawmakers at the hearing didn't provide specifics concerning an extension of the statutory licenses expiring at the end of the year. Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced in January legislation providing a five-year extension of the statutory license allowing satellite TV services to deliver distant network and superstation programming. Local TV delivery has a permanent copyright license, and isn't part of the satellite extension act.