Charlie began with an assumption that he could take free OTA TV signals and rebroadcast them to anywhere, regardless of the station's consent, payment to stations or respecting the affiliation contracts and the station's broadcast area. He (and DirecTV) ended up being sued ... and lost. Turns out he didn't have permission to take anyone's signal and broadcast it anywhere ... let alone broadcasting it everywhere. And while the lawsuit went through court he (as Greg noted) worked with congress to get a law that WOULD allow him to rebroadcast local TV stations under a statutory license system. Many years and a few revisions later the law isn't perfect but it is the law we have today. Local into local with either forced carriage (must carry - no payment to the station) or negotiated carriage (consent to carry - the station may charge). Distant stations only if a local station of that network does not cover the viewer or waives it's exclusive rights. A few years ago "significantly viewed" stations from neighboring markets were allowed for satellite. (These were originally considered a form of distants but was moved to the locals law by STELA).