On October 29, 1984, a new era began in the relationship between law and cable television. On that day, the first major law regulation cable television, the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984,was signed into law.
Early judicial attempts to interpret the Cable Act revealed the difficulties judges had with understanding the new legal regimen. A common thread running through these varied cases, if any, was the courts' apparent lack of appreciation of the Act's complexity. Many, though not all, decisions appear to misread congressional language and misinterpret congressional intent. The first part of this Article will discuss this problem in regard to issues common to all sections of the Cable Act: the purposes of the Act, retroactivity and grandfathering, and the constitutionality of cable regulation. The second part of the Article will discuss judicial interpretation of specific sections of the Cable Act: rate regulation, modification, tenants' access to cable television and cable piracy.
Cable Television's New Legal Universe: Early Judicial Response to the Cable Act, 6 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 1 (1987)