Baseball is just one example of how the TV business depends upon a network of invisible fences and geographic limitations. Now the Web is obliterating them. As broadcasters start to fear the consequences, some are trying new technical and legal tricks to fight back. In some cases, they are even re-creating online the same kinds of geographic boundaries that supported their business before the digital age.
The TV industry has long been alarmed about the problem of digital piracy, on the rise now that more viewers watch shows via the Web, iPods and cellphones. The concerns about the industry’s geographic structure are a newer and more complex issue.