MPAA: FCC Has No Authority to Impose a la Carte

The major Hollywood studios, represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, told the Federal Communications Commission in no uncertain terms that it has no authority to impose a la carte -- either wholesale unbundling of channels or retail per-channel sales -- on cable operators.

The MPAA said it was responding to a filling by Media Access Project that argued that the FCC did have such jurisdiction.

"As the MPAA and its members have demonstrated repeatedly … the commission has no broad statutory authority to dictate the terms, conditions and prices offered by any programmer in private, free-market negotiations," the MPAA said.

Saying MAP's assertions were akin to "blindly" calling out successive numbers in the game of Battleship in hopes of finally hitting on the right one, the MPAA countered that there were "no battleships on the board" to sink.

For the MPAA’s full response to the FCC, click here.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.