Regulatory Comments

Reply Comments of ICLE, In the Matter of Expanding Consumers’ Video Navigation Choices, FCC


“The Commission undertakes this rulemaking with the commendable goal of enhancing competition. But even the noblest of goals cannot be pursued by plainly illegal means. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what these proposed rules would do.

In our Comments we took issue with the disconnect between the stated goal of competition and the mechanism used to implement it, the unintended results, the vast underestimation of the existing vibrant video marketplace, and the fatal inconsistencies in the logic used to justify the Chairman’s NPRM. In this Reply Comment we highlight another overlooked, but crucial, problem with the proposed rules: they directly violate United States treaty obligations.

As we discussed in our Comments, the proposed rules would violate a number of exclusive rights guaranteed to copyright holders — including the right to license their content to MVPDs on narrow, specific grounds —and will create a high likelihood of exposing MVPDs to secondary liability. But the rules also threaten to violate a host of free trade agreements, to substantially interfere with rights holders’ exclusive right of public performance, and to upend the system of retransmission consent agreements authorized by the Cable Act…”