Title

Mandated Access: Commensurability and the Right to Say 'No'

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1994

ISSN

1061-6578

Publisher

University of California Hastings College of Law

Language

en-US

Abstract

Here is the problem as Congress saw it: A distributor of television programming (a cable television operator or a distributor of television programming via other media) cannot thrive unless it can supply viewers with top-rated programming. Few customers want to subscribe to a service that lacks NBC's Seinfeld, the latest episodes of General Hospital, or even PBS educational documentaries. Special provisions in the 1976 Copyright Act gave cable operators some liberty to retransmit broadcast programming. However, that Act created no such liberties for programming originating from within cable companies. Because the national market for programming is dominated by a few large cable operators, smaller distributors - such as direct broadcast satellites (DBS) and multichannel, multipoint distribution services (MMDS) (wireless cable) - may find it difficult to obtain permission to show popular programming that originates from their large competitors.

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