Internet TV: What Must Congress Do About It? Television Regulations Coming To Your Laptop Soon?

Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee
Friday, September 21, 2012
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm.
Rayburn House Office Building - Room B-338
RSVP: [email protected] or via phone to 202-638-4370. Note: Registration is complimentary.

Compare the popular TV show the average Congressional staffer watches on Hulu, NetFlix or YouTube with the very same show viewed by her parents on their living room television back home. Generally the show is indistinguishable in appearance on TV and on the Internet. Yet, how the show got to the respective screens is quite a different story.

The TV show viewed on the living room TV set almost certainly has found its way onto her parents' screen by negotiating a series of extremely complex rules and regulations created by Congress over the span of over 75 years. However, the TV show viewed on a laptop by the staffer has sailed through the Internet unburdened by almost every single one of those rules.

Congress created those regulations at different epochs for many well-intentioned goals such as serving the public interest, promoting competition in the video distribution marketplace, helping individuals with disabilities access TV programming, ensuring access to video programming, protecting the privacy of video subscribers, and so on. In a foreshadowing of things to come, Congress is currently "modernizing" for Internet video the 1998 Video Privacy Protection Act, which governs the privacy of video tape rentals. And there are many, many more TV regulations that Congress must decide whether to apply to the Internet in the coming months and years.

We have assembled a panel of experts to help detail the types of legislation Congress has imposed on traditional distribution of traditional television content. The panel will describe the history of the legislation with an eye toward which of these regulations, if any, will Congress likely apply to Internet TV.

Over the next several years the disruptive nature of Internet TV and video will generate tremendous pressure on Congress to decide how, if at all, these regulations apply to online video. This briefing will help you get a better sense of the legislative and regulatory battles on the horizon for Congress regarding Internet video.

This widely attended educational briefing is hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (ICAC), part of a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization. Congressional staff and members of the press welcome. The ICAC is a private sector organization comprised of public interest groups, trade associations, non-profits, and corporations. More information on the ICAC is available at

Suggested Pre-Event Reading Material

"The Future of Video" - Hearing Memo: House Energy & Commerce Committee
"Why Johnny Can't Stream" - James Grimmelman