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The following statement on the Time Warner Cable's retransmission dispute with CBS can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President:
“CBS, by blocking all Time Warner Cable broadband subscribers in every market, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to Time Warner Cable’s video services, has crossed the line from hardball tactics to outright abuse of consumers. It's unacceptable that CBS, or any company, should block access to web sites or web content because of a commercial dispute they have with a cable company.
“Worse, if the FCC and Congress do nothing, we can expect this to become a common tactic in future retransmission fights, further hurting consumers.
“CBS’s actions also hold Internet subscribers hostage in an unrelated fight. Broadband subscribers outside the blacked out markets, as well as TWC broadband subscribers that do not rely on TWC for video, are being denied content they have every legal right to expect. Congress never intended that broadcasters violate their duty as trustees of the public airwaves by using consumers as pawns in commercial disputes.
“CBS, like all broadcasters, receives free access to the public airwaves on condition that it serve the public interest and the local community. Congress created the retransmission law on which CBS justifies pulling its programming from Time Warner Cable subscribers to protect local broadcasters and local programming – not as a gift to media giants to extort even higher fees.
“Fortunately, Congress gave the Federal Communications Commission broad powers to protect consumers and ensure that broadcasters use their exclusive licenses to use the public airwaves to serve the public interest. The FCC should move immediately to make it clear to CBS – and all other broadcasters – that it takes its responsibility to protect the American people seriously.”