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52 Federal Communications Law Journal 619 (2000)


Digital streaming capabilities have enabled real-time Internet transmission of video signals. The advent of "Webcasting" will potentially change the way in which programming reaches audiences-increasing diversity in content as well as customer choice. Currently, cable and satellite systems secure retransmission rights to broadcast programming through statutory copyrights, and debate has ensued over whether online retransmitters should benefit from the same. This Article describes the evolution of streaming video over the Internet and examines the economic exploitation of such technology. After offering an overview of the compulsory copyright system, the Article analyzes the applicability of statutory licenses to Internet retransmissions of broadcast video signals. It concludes that compulsory copyrights and attendant regulatory restrictions should extend to real-time secondary transmissions of over-the-air broadcast programming (Internet TV). However, a free market system of negotiation would be more appropriate for Webcasting in a pay-per-view video library model.