The Copyright Office just released a report asking Congress to end the practice of forcing broadcast TV stations to give their signals to cable and satellite operators for a small, legislatively-fixed fee. Ars has an excellent piece on the report.
The compulsory licensing was introduced in the early days of cable and satellite to give the new companies a leg up against their broadcast competitors – and to promote localism. But cable and satellite hardly need the advantage; they’re creaming free TV. Congress should allow cable and satellite to freely negotiate for licenses with broadcasters – and thus let the market efficiently determine the prices. Congress needs to quit picking winners and losers.