Congress, The U.S. Supreme Court And Must-Carry Policy: A Flawed Economic Analysis

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Communication Law and Policy




The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, which requires cable operators to carry the signals of local broadcast television stations, was hailed by supporters as a measure that would preserve the economic viability of the local independent broadcaster by unlocking the anticompetitive grip that the local cable company places on access to its system. In upholding the Act in 1997, the United States Supreme Court seemed to ignore the degree to which the cable and broadcast industries have become vertically integrated. In the end, local independent stations became economically viable not because they were guaranteed carriage on a cable system, but because they represented a practical programming outlet for conglomerate firms with large investments in content production. This article recommends that Congress repeal the Act.


The version of record can be found through Taylor and Francis.