Originally Posted by seatacboy
One interesting aspect of the lawsuit you cited: OTA broadcasters are asserting "copyright" to the programming which they transmit over the public airwaves which they have been granted by the Federal Government for free (other than some de minimus costs filing periodic pro forma renewal documentation and reports to the FCC). Based on an interpretation of a 1992 law they are demanding and getting payment "retransmission consent fees", yet they are NOT sharing those "retransmission consent fees" with the FCC. In other words, arguably, OTA broadcasters are ripping off the American people by demanding financial compensation (above and beyond the income derived from commercial advertising) for retransmission of telecasts for which the American people have granted those broadcasters FREE use of the spectrum bandwidth.
Sorry, but broadcasters can no longer survive on the money we get for commercials. Too many competing, unregulated services out here are taking away the ad dollars (now being measured in "ad cents").
Additionally, ad-skipping, such as with the DISH Hopper", make commercials far less valuable to the sponsors. And, even the "non-commercial" broadcasters are running what appear to be full-blown commercials.
As for they "free spectrum" argument, stations pay huge amounts of money in order to comply with FCC rules and regulations, especially the ones that are ordered by overzealous Congressmen. Most stations budget hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for such things as licensing fees, lawyers fees, special equipment used to demonstrate compliance with certain laws (such as the CALM Act), consultant fees, frequency coordination services, music licensing, etc.
If AEREO wins, and the programming resellers manage to stop paying retrans fees to the broadcasters, you'll see very little in the way of useful programming over the air in the near future. It will all be reruns, minority-language programs, religion and infomercials.
The rest of your viewing will be dependent on the size of your bank account.