The General Accountability Office has concluded that phasing out cable and satellite statutory licenses for the retransmission of broadcast content “may be feasible for most” participants, and the U.S. Copyright Office agreed. Must-carry rules could be threatened as a result.
GAO also said that increasing the individual negotiations could lead to broadcast “blackouts,” already a complaint by cable operators over retrans negotiations with blanket licenses. It would make sense that the more individual negotiations required, the more potential for disagreement and disruption, though some content providers argue there would also be more opportunity for a marketplace-set rate on their content rather than a government-set blanket license they argue is artificially low.