Message to the Senate Transmitting a Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite

August 16, 1984

To the Senate of the United States:

With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite, signed by the United States on May 21, 1974. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention.

The Convention obligates States party to the Convention to prevent interception and distribution on or from their territory of program-carrying signals transmitted by satellite. The purpose of the Convention is to clarify the status of satellite signals, in view of the uncertain nature of the commitment with respect to satellite signals which States have undertaken by adhering to other conventions which bear on radio communications and copyright. The Convention does not impose obligations on States party to it with respect to signals emitted from a satellite and intended for direct reception by the general public (direct broadcast satellite signals) or with respect to purely private reception and viewing of program-carrying signals provided there is no further distribution of such signals.

Ratification of the Convention will constitute an important policy statement by the United States concerning the unauthorized interception and distribution of television programs transmitted by satellite and will benefit United States television program producers, distributors and broadcasters by extending to them protection in other countries party to the Convention from unauthorized distribution of their works transmitted by satellite. In view of these benefits, there is strong support for early ratification of the Convention by the U.S. industries concerned with the creation and dissemination of television and radio programs.

I recommend, therefore, that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention and give its advice and consent to ratification.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

August 16, 1984.