Secondary transmission is not an infringement on copyright if the signal being transmitted is not from a cable system. The transmitting of signals must be made by hotel management, an apartment or similar establishment. The broadcast signals must be transmitted by a broadcast station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. No direct charge can be made to view the secondary transmission and the viewing may not extend beyond the establishment providing the displayed work. If those responsible for the secondary transmission have no control over what is broadcast other than supplying wires, cables or other communication devices, they cannot be held responsible for what is displayed on the transmission.
Satellite companies may display secondary transmission due to a statutory license agreement that was signed. Governmental bodies or non-profit organizations may display secondary transmission as long as it is not for a commercial or personal financial gain. Money earned can only go toward maintaining the ability to transmit signals.
Secondary Transmission to a Group
The secondary transmission of a work being displayed on a primary transmission is illegal if the copyrighted material set for display on a primary transmission is meant to only be broadcast to a controlled group. The secondary transmission to a group may be allowed if:
The primary transmission is being broadcast by the FCC;
The carrying of signals on a secondary transmission is required by the FCC; and
The secondary transmitter does not in any way alter the primary transmitter.
Secondary Transmissions by Cable Systems
Secondary transmission by cable system requires a license from the FCC and the secondary transmitters must comply with the rules and regulations set by the FCC. Displaying copyrighted work on a secondary transmission is subject to penalty under copyright infringement laws if the transmitting of signals is not permissible by the FCC and its rules and regulations. Also, the secondary transmitting of signals is subject to penalty if the secondary transmitters have not paid the required statement of account and royalty fee.
The alteration of any commercials or other paid for ad space while transmitting on a secondary line is against the law. Researchers and companies have compiled information that has led them to choosing specific audiences and time slots to broadcast their commercials or public messages. Altering these messages is not permissible. Transmitting signals to areas that are not meant to receive the signals is also against the law and breaches the FCC agreement.
Non-Simultaneous Secondary Transmissions by Cable Systems
Non-simultaneous secondary transmissions by cable systems is not permissible by law unless:
A program on videotape is not displayed more than one time to cable subscribers;
The broadcast is not altered in anyway and the commercials are left as they were;
The owner of the cable system takes extra measures to assure the videotape is not duplicated or transmitted again in any way possible. They are responsible for the destruction of the tape upon completion of broadcasting the tape; and
The secondary transmission must take place when the Federal Communication Commission says it should take place.