Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Since its advent, cable television has confused legislatures, courts, and commentators who have grappled with which first amendment regulatory model to apply to the medium-that of print, broadcast, or some hybrid of both. Preferred Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles provides an opportunity to reduce the confusion. This commentary reviews the developmental and regulatory history of cable, discusses the background of the case, analyzes the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's opinion, and comments on the United States Supreme Court's opinion. Although the Supreme Court stopped short of endorsing a particular first amendment regulatory model, the author argues that a determination can be reached by analyzing existing legal principles. The author advocates the acceptance of the Ninth Circuit's approach of applying the print model of first amendment regulation to cable. The author then explains the possible ramifications should such an approach be accepted.