(a) Establishment. - The Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, is authorized to appoint and convene copyright arbitration royalty panels.
(b) Purposes. - Subject to the provisions of this chapter, the purposes of the copyright arbitration royalty panels shall be as follows:
(1) To make determinations concerning the adjustment of reasonable copyright royalty rates as provided in sections 114, 115, 116, and 119, and to make determinations as to reasonable terms and rates of royalty payments as provided in section 118. The rates applicable under sections 114(f)(1)(B), 115, and 116 shall be calculated to achieve the following objectives:
(A) To maximize the availability of creative works to the public;
(B) To afford the copyright owner a fair return for his creative work and the copyright user a fair income under existing economic conditions;
(C) To reflect the relative roles of the copyright owner and the copyright user in the product made available to the public with respect to relative creative contribution, technological contribution, capital investment, cost, risk, and contribution to the opening of new markets for creative expression and media for their communication;
(D) To minimize any disruptive impact on the structure of the industries involved and on generally prevailing industry practices.
(2) To make determinations concerning the adjustment of the copyright royalty rates in section 111 solely in accordance with the following provisions:
(A) The rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) may be adjusted to reflect (i) national monetary inflation or deflation or (ii) changes in the average rates charged cable subscribers for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions to maintain the real constant dollar level of the royalty fee per subscriber which existed as of the date of enactment of this Act: Provided, That if the average rates charged cable system subscribers for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions are changed so that the average rates exceed national monetary inflation, no change in the rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) shall be permitted: And provided further, That no increase in the royalty fee shall be permitted based on any reduction in the average number of distant signal equivalents per subscriber. The copyright arbitration royalty panels may consider all factors relating to the maintenance of such level of payments including, as an extenuating factor, whether the cable industry has been restrained by subscriber rate regulating authorities from increasing the rates for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions.
(B) In the event that the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission are amended at any time after April 15, 1976, to permit the carriage by cable systems of additional television broadcast signals beyond the local service area of the primary transmitters of such signals, the royalty rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) may be adjusted to insure that the rates for the additional distant signal equivalents resulting from such carriage are reasonable in the light of the changes effected by the amendment to such rules and regulations. In determining the reasonableness of rates proposed following an amendment of Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations, the copyright arbitration royalty panels shall consider, among other factors, the economic impact on copyright owners and users: Provided, That no adjustment in royalty rates shall be made under this subclause with respect to any distant signal equivalent or fraction thereof represented by (i) carriage of any signal permitted under the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission in effect on April 15, 1976, or the carriage of a signal of the same type (that is, independent, network, or noncommercial educational) substituted for such permitted signal, or (ii) a television broadcast signal first carried after April 15, 1976, pursuant to an individual waiver of the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, as such rules and regulations were in effect on April 15, 1976.
(C) In the event of any change in the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission with respect to syndicated and sports program exclusivity after April 15, 1976, the rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) may be adjusted to assure that such rates are reasonable in light of the changes to such rules and regulations, but any such adjustment shall apply only to the affected television broadcast signals carried on those systems affected by the change.
(D) The gross receipts limitations established by section 111(d)(1)(C) and (D) shall be adjusted to reflect national monetary inflation or deflation or changes in the average rates charged cable system subscribers for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions to maintain the real constant dollar value of the exemption provided by such section; and the royalty rate specified therein shall not be subject to adjustment.
(3) To distribute royalty fees deposited with the Register of Copyrights under sections 111, 116, 119(b), and 1003, and to determine, in cases where controversy exists, the distribution of such fees.
(c) Rulings. - The Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, may, before a copyright arbitration royalty panel is convened, make any necessary procedural or evidentiary rulings that would apply to the proceedings conducted by such panel, including -
(1) authorizing the distribution of those royalty fees collected under sections 111, 119, and 1005 that the Librarian has found are not subject to controversy; and
(2) accepting or rejecting royalty claims filed under sections 111, 119, and 1007 on the basis of timeliness or the failure to establish the basis for a claim.
(d) Support and Reimbursement of Arbitration Panels. - The Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, shall provide the copyright arbitration royalty panels with the necessary administrative services related to proceedings under this chapter, and shall reimburse the arbitrators presiding in distribution proceedings at such intervals and in such manner as the Librarian shall provide by regulation. Each such arbitrator is an independent contractor acting on behalf of the United States, and shall be hired pursuant to a signed agreement between the Library of Congress and the arbitrator. Payments to the arbitrators shall be considered reasonable costs incurred by the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office for purposes of section 802(h)(1).