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Press Release

    FreedomWorks Joins Letter to Oppose "Must Carry"

    10/17/2005

    Download pdf of House letter

    Download pdf of Senate letter

    The Honorable Bill Frist
    Majority Leader
    United States Senate
    Washington, DC 20510
    October 12, 2005

    Dear Majority Leader Frist:

    The undersigned organizations would like to express their strong opposition to proposals to
    extend “must carry” rules for cable operators to include the multiple streams of
    programming broadcasters may offer following the transition to digital television.

    To do so would impose what is an unreasonable and likely unconstitutional burden on cable operators.
    Currently, cable operators are required to carry certain commercial and public television stations -
    - already a government mandated taking of cable operators’ privately built property. However,
    following the upcoming digital transition, broadcasters will be able to divide their digital
    spectrum to offer multiple streams. A multicast must carry requirement could increase the
    amount of property seized from cable providers by six times or more, with no just compensation
    from broadcasters – a likely violation of the takings clause of the Constitution.

    A requirement that cable providers carry every single stream on separate channels might also
    impede those companies from offering additional services including high-speed Internet, HDTV
    and Internet phone service – services on the cutting edge that have been developed to meet the
    needs and desires of subscribers.
    Cable operators have built large private infrastructures at enormous costs, and depend upon
    private subscribers for their survival and success, while broadcasters already enjoy free license to
    use public airwaves. To give broadcasters a free ride on cable operators’ private infrastructure
    would represent the worst sort of government mandate, and would fly in the face of the property
    rights protections found in the Constitution.

    We strongly urge Congress not to adopt a multicast must carry rule for cable, and instead
    to allow the free market to determine the programming offered to cable subscribers.

    Sincerely,
    Grover Norquist David Keene
    Americans for Tax Reform American Conservative Union
    Fred Smith Paul Gessing
    Competitive Enterprise Institute National Taxpayers Union
    Scott LaGanga Tom Readmond
    Property Rights Alliance Media Freedom Project
    Michelle Korsmo Geoffrey Segal
    Americans for Prosperity Reason Foundation
    Jim Martin Matt Kibbe
    60 Plus Freedom Works
    Chuck Muth David Bosse
    Citizen Outreach Citizens United
    Jeff Mazzella Genevieve Wood
    Center for Individual Freedom Center for a Just Society
    Jason Wright Roy Innis
    Institute for Liberty Congress on Racial Equality
    George Landrith Thomas Schatz
    Frontiers of Freedom Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
    Thomas P. Kilgannon Daniel Clifton
    Freedom Alliance American Shareholders Association
    Karen Kerrigan
    Small Business Entrepreneurship Council
    Kay Daly
    Coalition for a Fair Judiciary