A report issued on Monday by the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) under the auspices of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA) advises Congress to phase out the statutory license that governs the retransmission of distant broadcast network signals by multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) that include direct broadcast satellite and cable operators. Describing the compulsory carriage license for distant network stations as an “artificial construct created in an earlier era,” the USCO report contends that market based mechanisms should be sufficient in today’s competitive marketplace to enable MVPDs, broadcasters and copyright owners successfully to negotiate carriage terms on their own. According to the report, such market-based mechanisms include, but are not limited to, sublicensing, collective licensing, and direct licensing. To provide MVPDs and broadcasters with sufficient time to reach new carriage terms, the USCO urges the initial phasing-out of compulsory licensing over a transitional period, with a “date-specific trigger” to be set by Congress. The USCO also recommends elimination of compulsory licensing that pertains to the retransmission of local broadcast signals as part of a second phase. While voicing support for USCO recommendations on distant signal licenses, the National Association of Broadcasters said lawmakers should avoid any changes to local must-carry and retransmission consent rules “which are working just as lawmakers intended.” Recalling that the USCO first recommended abolition of the compulsory cable license in 1981, an executive of the American Cable Association said that Congress “has always decided that the best course of action for consumers was to renew the license.”