Capitol Idea: IPTV Deserves Compulsory License

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Capitol Broadcasting has asked the Copyright Office to allow cable systems to be able stream TV station signals so long as they comply with all existing program exclusivity rules.

The broadcaster wants the Copyright Office's compulsory license covering over-the-air broadcasts to be extended to in-market Internet retransmission as well.

It points out that the office has traditionally not included Internet in the license, but that the policy stems from a time when it was hard to limit the geography of that streaming.

Capitol says it now has a system for insuring that Internet streaming of local stations is confined to the market where that statoin is licensed, paving the way to extend the compulsory license and the Internet reach of local TV stations without threatening  the "linchpin" of the TV channel allocation system, which is local program exclusivity.

Capitol President Jim Goodmon plans to testify in a July 23 hearing at the office about the proposal. The office is seeking comment on whether the license should be expanded to IP-delivered TV.

Capitol says that IP-delivered services already qualify as cable systems for the purposes of the compulsory license, but says that if the office does not agree, it should recommend Congress either amend the Copyright Act to do so or create a new license to cover it.

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