There were information gaps in announcement from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) concerning the introduction of his Consumer Choice in Online Video Act. But an anonymous Committee source told Bloomberg that under the bill, services like Aereo would not have to pay for the right to use local broadcast signals.
According to Bloomberg, the source remained in the shadows because the bill has not yet been made public.
The bill is meant to help ease the growing pains of internet video distributors in much the same way it was done when satellite services first appeared.
There are legitimate concerns that will be addressed. Many MVPDs own programming, and they also provide internet service. Either of these could be used to stunt the growth of internet distributors.
As far as broadcasting is concerned, Rockefeller’s announcement contained this language: “It also explores ways for online video distributors to negotiate to carry broadcast television content…”
We thought that might be a signal that services like Aereo would need to respect broadcast copyrights, but apparently that is not the case.
The battle between Aereo and broadcasters has already been waged in the judiciary system and appears headed for the Supreme Court. If the Bloomberg report is true, a new front will be opened in the halls of Congress. Stay tuned.