I understand what serving the community means. It means you have a broadcast signal allocated to you. In return, you provide news, public affairs and other public service programming via your transmitter. It does not mean you have to provide to another corporation to sell to consumers, without being compensated. How consumers get the signal, other than OTA, is not part of the burden for the broadcaster.
Once again, you are talking about the letter of the law, not the spirit or the right thing to do. That is where we are at odds.
I agree that you are right when it comes to law. But law and "right" do not go hand in hand.
BTW, I can pretty much assume that when OTA went digital, they did not do as good a job in market coverage as they could have because they assumed most customers would watch their programming via satellite or cable. I remember comments to that nature when early digital testing went horribly wrong in New York City (too much multi-path). And I can make that assumption with a couple of major stations in the Baltimore/Washington area that actually went down in power for cost and for interference reasons. In short, the digital age actually made it harder to get OTA via an antenna. Why? Because the *realities* of the situation is that antenna viewing is the minority now. So, the *reality* is that stations are not serving their community by just dumping signal into the air, no matter what the laws say.
By your logic, the government should pay for everyone to have locals via cable, so the community can be 100% "served."
Where did I say that? I am willing to pay someone for the community antenna. For the investment in equipment and for the maintenance of that equipment and service. That is not any different than buying an antenna on time and getting it realigned once in a while (both things that would be paid for).
This is TV we're talking about, not 911 phone service. Cable is different -- they have to negotiate franchise agreements with the government entity, and the agreements are varied, I'm sure from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Cable uses government infrastructure to get their signal into homes -- utility poles, underground lines, public streets for boxes, etc, so that's why government gets involved there. Satellite does not use those, so should not be required to provide anything -- it's an optional service.
My government doesn't own the telephone poles. They use right of way but they do not own the poles. The electric company, etc., do.
And, guess what, satellite *is* required to provide local channels. Not by local jurisdictions, but by the feds.
I'm not an expert at cable franchise agreements; I haven't had cable since 1998. If locals are required, do the cable companies have to pay for them? Are the broadcasters required to give them away to the cable company? I'm sure the cable company is not required to give the service to consumers for free.
Yes, they have to pay for them. They are not required to have every channel (unless the channel chooses that over payment) but they are required to have that tier of service for any channels they do carry.
As I've mentioned earlier, I don't know if Sinclair is being outrageous in its demands; I don;t live in a Sinclair market and don't have a dog in the fight. But this will come up in all markets at some point. I just find it reasonable to have the right not to have your signal resold without permission and compensation. Copyright owners have rights that need to be respected.
Whoa. There has not been any money until recently transferred from the local stations to the true copyright holders (local stations own their own broadcasts, but they have no copyright rights for network programming in terms of ownership). Recently, Fox has been making noises (and may be doing it) in that they want a cut of the money from satellite and cable because they are the true owners of the network programming. So, local channels have been doing exactly what you say is unreasonable. They have been getting paid for programming that they do not, in turn, pay for on a viewer by viewer basis.
But then again, we've become a society that thinks it's OK to steal intellectual property -- witness the number of torrent sites and other backchannel ways to get music and programming without paying for it. But that is probably too far off topic for this thread.
This has nothing to do with stealing anything. You put it out on the airwaves, it should be free.
BTW, thanks for a good honest conversation. We disagree but it has been a good talk from different viewpoints.