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Sky Angel wins arbitration (Sky Angel news release)


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#1 OFFLINE   drfreeman

drfreeman

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Posted 19 September 2004 - 06:02 PM

NEWS & INFORMATION SITE REGARDING THE DOMINION SKY ANGEL/ECHOSTAR DISH NETWORK LAWSUIT

ARBITRATION PANEL RULES IN FAVOR OF DOMINION SKY ANGEL
NAPLES, FL September 13, 2004 – After more than a year of litigation, an arbitration panel has unanimously ruled that EchoStar Communications Corp. (DISH™ Network) violated its contract with direct broadcast satellite (DBS) licensee Dominion Video Satellite Inc., owner-operator of Sky Angel(sm), the nation’s only faith-based direct-to-home satellite television service and the country’s oldest DBS company, and has ordered EchoStar to pay monetary damages to Dominion and to come into compliance with an eight-year-old contract between the two DBS operators.

In a separate but related matter, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still currently considering whether the trade of must carry stations for a public interest channel is proper and is also investigating whether Daystar Television Network qualifies as a public interest programmer and is allegedly misusing its non-commercial educational broadcast stations in the sale of airtime and commercial advertising.

The arbitration panel’s order stems from a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed in April 2003 by Dominion against EchoStar for multiple contract violations by the Littleton, Colorado-based DBS operator. The FCC investigation was launched following a filing by Daystar with the FCC requesting that the government agency invalidate a private contract between Dominion and EchoStar.

At no time has Dominion brought any lawsuits against any Christian ministry, and only after other direct efforts to resolve this matter without litigation failed, Dominion was left with no other choice but to take defensive legal action against EchoStar, a secular company, in accordance with Romans 13:1-5 in order to hold EchoStar accountable to its longstanding contract with Dominion and to protect the Sky Angel ministry.

“We have relied on God for wisdom concerning these matters and have prayed that only His will would ultimately prevail. It is our desire to put this issue behind us and move forward in obedience to the vision that the Lord has given for this important work of ministry,” said Robert Johnson Jr., Dominion’s CFO and interim CEO. Johnson took over leadership of Sky Angel following the death last month of his father, Robert W. Johnson Sr., the founder of the Sky Angel satellite service. A DBS pioneer and visionary, Johnson Sr. was part of the first round of high-power DBS license applicants in 1981, and his was one of only nine companies to receive a construction permit and launch authority from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a high-power DBS service in 1984. Dominion today remains the sole DBS survivor of that pioneering group and is one of only four companies in the United States licensed to own and operate a high-power DBS service. Sky Angel is the only DBS company with a Christian mission and purpose.

Dominion appreciates the wide support from within the Christian community during this extremely trying time. The mission and purpose of Sky Angel is to develop a worldwide multi-channel, high-power direct broadcast satellite broadcasting system for spreading the Gospel free of secular control, as distinct from every other commercial-secular cable or satellite system. Because Sky Angel exists, families can receive wholesome, Christ-centered programming without being forced to receive in their homes or to support television programming that is hostile to or in conflict with their Christian values. Sky Angel also serves as a valuable evangelistic tool with the multi-channel service being delivered, in some cases at no charge, into prisons, homeless shelters, substance abuse facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, colleges and more; Sky Angel’s Angel One channel, with a special emphasis on carrying a variety of ministries, large and small, that are focused on evangelizing and ministering to lost and hurting people, is also available free of charge on the DISH Network.

As the only Christian organization in the world licensed by any government to operate a high-power satellite system, Sky Angel is a valuable tool for the Church to move in unity, to evangelize the lost, and to equip the body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission, so it is essential to defend and protect the vision given for Sky Angel by holding accountable those who try to bring harm to this ministry.

Dominion will continue to press forward with its plans to provide the Gospel to every nation in the world through a Christian-owned and -controlled satellite television delivery system in obedience to the vision the Lord gave for the Sky Angel ministry 24 years ago.

SKY ANGEL MISSION AND PURPOSE
From the very beginning, 24 years ago, when God placed a call on Robert W. Johnson Sr.'s life to create what today remains the world's only Christian Direct Broadcast Satellite “DBS” platform, our mission has never changed. Through the Lord's revelation, we knew then as we know today that the only method of assuring that the Gospel could be spread to the entire world — uninterrupted and unimpeded by geographic barriers, land lines and cables, and ever-changing, often hostile political boundaries — was via high-powered, wireless deep-space satellites owned and controlled by Christians totally committed to exclusively using this technology as a true instrument of helping to fulfill the "Great Commission." The satellite itself is then the platform — the "Angel in the Sky" — for the ministers, preachers and teachers of our age to first reach and disciple America and then to reach the most unreachable of God's lost children in the world.

There are only four DBS satellite services in America today: Sky Angel, DirecTV, DISH Network, and Voom Network. Sky Angel is the only one devoted exclusively to airing Christian and wholesome family television and radio programming. As the only Christian-owned and -controlled satellite television and radio platform licensed by the government in the world, we are able today to beam 20 television channels and 16 radio channels of Christian programming 24 hours a day across North America.

We do this all for our programmers by providing no-cost DBS airtime and for the body of Christ where individual homes, churches, businesses and more pay a modest monthly or annual subscription fee to help support, strengthen and grow the Sky Angel system. When we go international, many Sky Angel's radio and television signals will be "free-to-air" overseas utilizing a very low-cost DBS receiving system and small dish so that those who have never had the benefit of receiving Christ-centered TV or radio programming will be able to in even the most unreachable areas of the world.

Presently, Sky Angel's powerful television and radio signals are capable of being received virtually anywhere in North America. It would be impossible today for any Christian ministry to acquire enough television stations or cable systems capable of reaching the entire U.S. population. This impossibility has been overcome by Sky Angel's multi-channel television and radio channel signals that now cover virtually all of North America.

We're excited! We're humbled by the opportunity ahead. And we rejoice in being able to share this great endeavor with those who have been called and anointed to spread God's Word and use this remarkable technology that He has placed in our hands.

Therefore, protecting this God-ordained project from those who may be blinded to God's ordained scope, mission and purpose for Sky Angel, and who would bring it harm willingly or unwillingly, is the only reason this lawsuit was filed against EchoStar.

BRIEF LAWSUIT OVERVIEW
Dominion Video Satellite, Inc., parent company of Sky Angel, a Christian direct broadcast satellite provider, filed suit in federal court in April 2003 against EchoStar Communications Corp., doing business as DISH Network, a secular-commercial direct broadcast satellite provider, concerning a violation by EchoStar of its 1996 Agreement with Dominion; Dominion asked a federal court judge to intervene on its behalf and on behalf of its Christian television and radio channels as well as its thousands of individual Christian ministry programmers. On July 9, 2003, a federal court judge ruled that EchoStar violated its Agreement with Dominion and that the two programmers, Daystar and FamilyNet (owned by the Southern Baptist Convention), that were party with EchoStar in this matter must be removed from the DISH Network service pending a formal arbitration proceeding, called for in the Dominion-EchoStar Agreement, because EchoStar's actions in placing Daystar and FamilyNet on the DISH Network have caused Dominion irreparable harm. In September 2004 an arbitration panel unanimously ruled in Sky Angel’s favor and has awarded damages.

At no time has any legal action been taken by Dominion against any Christian organization. This is a legal matter strictly between Dominion and EchoStar.

Up until April 2003 when Dominion was forced to file the lawsuit against EchoStar, EchoStar had refused all reasonable requests over three months by Sky Angel to stop violating the EchoStar-Dominion Agreement. Under that Agreement, EchoStar insisted that Dominion's Sky Angel service carry only channels with predominantly Christian themes and content while EchoStar's DISH Network service would carry all other types of channels for the 12- to 15-year life of the Agreement. However, Dominion ensured that Christian channels were grandfathered into its Agreement with EchoStar so that the Gospel would be abundantly available to DISH Network subscribers for the lifetime of the Agreement. In addition to these channels, there are multiplied hundreds of individual Christian programs that currently air on many of the 150-plus secular television networks that are carried on the DISH Network programming service. Also, all of Sky Angel's 36 television and radio channels are readily available to all DISH Network customers using the same DISH Network-brand receiving equipment. In fact, DISH Network has proclaimed publicly, even before Daystar and FamilyNet were added to the DISH Network channel lineup, that DISH, along with DirecTV, carries more Christian television than any cable operator in the U.S. In contrast, there are plenty of cable systems and television markets, including even our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., that have no Christian television stations.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (“FCC”) INVESTIGATES DAYSTAR TELEVISION FOR POSSIBLE STATION VIOLATIONS
In a related matter, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau has launched a formal investigation into Daystar Television to determine whether Daystar is improperly using its non-commercial educational broadcast stations for the alleged improper sale of airtime, commercials and fundraising, and therefore is not qualified for a set-aside "public interest" channel on DISH Network or DirecTV and whether EchoStar is improperly using its set-aside capacity by carrying Daystar. To read the FCC's formal "LOI" and followup letter to Daystar, click here: FCC’s formal “LOI” to Daystar and FCC's followup letter to Daystar Separately, the FCC's Media Bureau will examine the question of whether Daystar is providing excess compensation to EchoStar by Daystar trading its must-carry rights for its television stations in order to obtain a public interest channel. This FCC investigation was launched after Daystar filed with the FCC asking it to invalidate parts of Dominion’s agreement with EchoStar. To read Dominion's response to Daystar's FCC filing targeting Dominion, click here: Dominion Sky Angel files with FCC response to Daystar FCC filing targeting Dominion For more information about the FCC investigation, click here: Multichannel News: EchoStar under scrutiny regarding possible noncompliance with federal rules

FOLLOWING IS A SEQUENCE OF STATEMENTS BY DOMINION, SUPPORTED BY COURT DOCUMENTS, THAT ANSWERS QUESTIONS REGARDING THE LITIGATION. THIS HIDDEN WEB PAGE WAS SET UP IN JULY 2003 FOLLOWING A VERY NEGATIVE ON-AIR ATTACK AGAINST SKY ANGEL BY DAYSTAR OWNERS MARCUS AND JONI LAMB AFTER DOMINION FIRST WON A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AGAINST ECHOSTAR. SOME OF THE INFORMATION MAY BE DATED BUT IS BEING PROVIDED FOR THOSE WHO HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS ON HOW THE LITIGATION EVOLVED AND WAS MADE PUBLIC BY DAYSTAR TELEVISION. DOMINION HAS REFUSED TO RESPOND TO DAYSTAR IN KIND AND HAS REFRAINED FROM GOING ON THE AIR IN A SIMILAR FASHION. WE BELIEVED THAT GOD’S WILL WOULD ULTIMATELY BE DONE AND THE TRUTH WOULD PREVAIL, AND IT HAS. HOWEVER, THIS SECTION IS STILL BEING PROVIDED FOR THOSE WHO MAY HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS ON SPECIFIC ALLEGATIONS BY DAYSTAR AND MARCUS AND JONI LAMB:

POSTED JULY 2003 - OCTOBER 2003
PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM SKY ANGEL
First we want to apologize for having to release this information to the public on this hidden web site; it was not our intention to do so for the overall sake of the body of Christ. Sky Angel is grateful for the broad support of Christian leaders, Christian channel owners, our viewers on both Sky Angel and DISH Network, and the Chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters Association and owner of Christian Television Network, Glenn Plummer, during this challenging time for Sky Angel.

While we appreciate the contributions that Daystar and FamilyNet have made overall to the effort of Christian broadcasting, Sky Angel believes what Daystar and FamilyNet have done against Sky Angel and the other Christian programmers carried on the Sky Angel satellite system, by secretly undermining our contract with EchoStar (Daystar and FamilyNet both knew about Dominion's Agreement with EchoStar yet never contacted us about their plans to approach DISH Network for carriage per Matthew 18), as well as possible violations of Federal Communication Commission rules, is neither biblical nor Christ-like and has caused irreparable harm not only to this Christian ministry but potentially to literally thousands of other ministries in the process. Large and small Christian TV and radio ministries alike rely on Sky Angel in order to broadcast to the nation. For most of these small ministries, Sky Angel is their primary or only outlet for ministry to both believers and unbelievers alike.

We ask for Christians' prayers that Daystar would stop this attack on Sky Angel and its thousands of Christian ministry programmers by teaming-up legally with a non-Christian company, DISH Network, to destroy Sky Angel. We also pray that Marcus and Joni Lamb would finally be able to see the big picture and how by joining together in unity, and not promoting their one channel in an apparent worldly effort to be number one, the body of Christ can finally reach the world for Christ.

SKY ANGEL REFUSES TO RESPOND IN KIND TO DAYSTAR'S PUBLIC ATTACKS
As many already know, since Dominion won a preliminary injunction in court on July 9, 2003 against EchoStar’s efforts to undermine its contract with Dominion, Daystar's Marcus and Joni Lamb have unfortunately gone on attack against Sky Angel in a public manner denounced by Christian leaders across America. Sky Angel will not respond in kind on the air so that reproach will not be brought upon the Gospel and instead has chosen to place information on this hidden web page only to respond to the now many false, misleading and even libelous and slanderous comments made by Marcus and Joni Lamb, including providing court designated public discovery evidence to reinforce Sky Angel's claims. However, the Christian community should know that Marcus Lamb's attorneys wrote Sky Angel stating that it would sue Sky Angel if it did not immediately remove the public discovery evidence, which includes correspondence between Mr. Lamb and DISH Network highlighting, in his own words, his reasons for wanting to be carried on DISH Network and his pledges to help DISH Network, a secular corporation, control a significant amount of the U.S. television marketplace, including Christian television. Sky Angel has refused this effort by Mr. Lamb to hide his correspondence from the public and will continue to provide this information to the public so that it can make up its own mind regarding the EchoStar/Dominion lawsuit.

In a related development, Marcus and Joni Lamb also sent out an August 2003 newsletter (see link to "Daystar August 2003 Newsletter" below, or click here: Daystar August 2003 Newsletter) explaining in detail why viewers should not contact Sky Angel directly about the EchoStar lawsuit. This new desperate attempt by the Lambs to hide the truth from their own supporters has occurred due to the major backlash they have received from both viewers and programmers who have read the information and discovery evidence on the Sky Angel web site responding to Daystar’s attacks and pointing out the truth in the case (see link to sample viewer e-mail, “A special e-mail of support...,” below, or click here: A special e-mail of support from among many received). Sky Angel believes that Christians have the right to make up their own minds after reviewing all the facts.

Sky Angel has been restrained in its response since it first learned what Marcus Lamb had done to harm this ministry and our other ministry programmers. In fact, when Sky Angel learned in December 2002 about what we feel are questionable, worldly tactics used by Mr. Lamb in an effort to have his network on DISH Network and “become the largest Christian television network in America over TBN” (see links to “Marcus Lamb letters # 1 and # 2 to DISH Network” below, or click here: Marcus Lamb letter to DISH Network #1 and Marcus Lamb letter to DISH Network #2 Also, see “Daystar Merger Letter” below, or click here: Daystar Merger letter), no matter the harm his deeds would cause to many of his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and to the body of Christ as a whole, Sky Angel could have taken action against Daystar. But we didn't. After the Lord began to reveal to us how Mr. Lamb negotiated with DISH Network behind Sky Angel’s back—not once beforehand coming to Sky Angel as a fellow brother in Christ to reveal his heart and motives per Matthew 18—to undermine an agreement formed between DISH and Sky Angel back in 1996, we could have filed suit against Daystar for contract interference. But we didn’t. We certainly could have brought to public light extremely disheartening statements and actions, such as Mr. Lamb telling a DISH Network officer that he would "dump Sky Angel" once he was on DISH and sending out a libelous letter to programmers that Mr. Lamb then had to retract and apologize for in June 2003, or Mrs. Lamb stating on national television that she has “malice in her heart” towards Sky Angel and doing a cat-like claw gesture to the camera stating that is what she would “like to do to those people.” Or we could have launched a similar ungodly diatribe before the public on our Angel One channel that reaches the 10 million-plus DISH and Sky Angel audience, as the Lambs so aptly initiated in an effort to cause further harm to Sky Angel in apparent unbiblical retaliation that has brought reproach to the Gospel. But we didn’t. Sky Angel has chosen to take the high road at the advice of many major Christian leaders. The Lambs have decided to take a far different road, which is why Daystar has lost the broad support of the Christian leadership.

DAYSTAR MAKES A DEAL IN ORDER TO GET ON DISH NETWORK
The reason that EchoStar placed Daystar on DISH Network, breaching the EchoStar/Dominion Agreement, was because Daystar was willing to make a deal that EchoStar apparently couldn't refuse: Daystar offered to waive valuable mandatory "must carry" local station carriage by DISH Network of Daystar's six local television stations and all future local Daystar stations as an inducement for DISH Network to choose Daystar over other educational channel applicants for a national "educational" channel (Daystar did something similar with DirecTV as well, according to court documents). Dominion believes this additional and valuable consideration may be a violation of Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rules regarding excessive compensation to the direct broadcast satellite provider and the FCC is currently investigating this trade. Payment to the direct broadcast satellite operator for an educational channel is strictly regulated by the FCC and limited to slightly more than $10,000 monthly. Thus, a direct broadcast satellite operator, in this case the DISH Network, cannot be compensated by the programmer, in this case Daystar, beyond the amount established by the FCC for putting the channel on the direct broadcast satellite system. The financial limits were put in place by the FCC and Congress in order to insure that access to educational channels by all applicants would be determined by an individual applicant's educational mission and not by being the highest financial bidder.

EVIDENCE SHOWS APPARENT “REAL” REASON DAYSTAR WANTS TO BE ON DISH NETWORK
Why did Daystar pursue carriage on DISH Network, interfering with another Christian brother's agreement, if the Gospel is already being preached on DISH Network? Despite Mr. Lamb's claims, this is not "all about" Marcus and Joni Lamb "trying to reach the lost." As the discovery evidence clearly shows (see links to Marcus Lamb’s letters to DISH Network below, or click here: Marcus Lamb letter to DISH Network #1 and Marcus Lamb letter to DISH Network #2), this appears to be more about Mr. Lamb wanting to become number one over Trinity Broadcasting Network “TBN”, another Christian network on DISH Network, and making more money. By having access to DISH Network's larger audience, as he stated in federal court, Marcus Lamb says he can fundraise more and charge ministries more for the air time:

May 27, 2003: Taken from Marcus Lamb's sworn, formal, written declaration to the Federal Court in Daystar's motion to reconsider previous Court denial of its motion to intervene (in EchoStar/Dominion lawsuit; see actual documents below):

"Daystar's exclusion from DISH Network will deprive Daystar of all the revenue uniquely derived from its access of 20 million viewers of the DISH Network, which includes advertising, donations for important religious and social causes, and revenues from the sale of air time to other programmers on the Daystar Network, most of which cannot ever be retrieved or recouped once lost. Specifically, if Daystar is taken off the DISH Network, Daystar will suffer substantial loss of donation revenue from the potential 20 million viewers. If Daystar is taken off of the DISH Network, Daystar will suffer substantial loss of programmers and associated revenues. If we lose the ability to reach DISH viewers, we will lose programmers and the air time revenue they generate because programmers have contracted with Daystar with the expectation of 20 million potential viewers. The lost air time revenue will include both that from programmers who will cease to purchase air time due to the loss of viewers and reductions resulting from programmers who will not agree to pay the current air time rates due to the loss of viewers. These losses are incalculable because of their long-term effects."

As soon as Daystar went on DISH Network's main satellite in June, media buyers tell us (and Mr. Lamb's correspondence confirms) Daystar's air time rates (the amount Marcus Lamb charges ministries for the privilege of airing on his network) skyrocketed 40% from $2,500 to $3,500 per half hour even though Daystar's costs only went up slightly; DISH Network charges Daystar only $10,000 a month to be on DISH Network (DirecTV charges a similar amount). In a newer development, media buyers have complained that Daystar raised its rates again, in September 2003, to more than $3,800 a half hour, including even to ministry programs that specifically target hurting and hungry children around the world. One media buyer states, "Daystar is going nuts with raising rates with no viable reason." This means these ministries, many of them already struggling after the 9/11 attacks, will have to fundraise more from Christians, or possibly worse, cancel airings on other networks, which means other lost people are not being reached in other parts of the country in order to support Daystar's high price increases. Therefore, again, Daystar has become a gatekeeper for Christian programming, denying access to national airwaves on the Daystar Television network to only those ministries large enough to afford it.

Sky Angel, on the other hand, doesn’t sell its air time, each year giving away $20,000,000 worth of air time on its Angel One channel that reaches both the DISH Network and Sky Angel audience of 10 million-plus homes. In addition, Sky Angel gives away air time to all of its 24-hour channels, including Daystar Television; Daystar and other Christian channels have to pay to be on other multi-channel outlets, including DISH Network. Also, through its non-profit foundation, Sky Angel has provided Sky Angel's life-changing programming free of charge to many prisons and Teen Challenge Centers; Sky Angel is the only television provider in the country able and willing to minister to these hurting people this way through the convenient, inexpensive satellite dishes.

DAYSTAR WANTS TO BE NUMBER ONE OVER TBN
As stated previously, in documents produced for litigation, Marcus Lamb also states that he wants to be on DISH Network in order to become number one over TBN, which is already being carried on DISH Network. In a December 11, 2002, e-mail to Mr. Ergen, Daystar's Marcus Lamb stated: "Mr. Ergen, I want to help you and DISH Network become the largest DBS Company in America over DirecTV. And I want Daystar to become the largest Christian television network in America over TBN." TBN is the Trinity Broadcasting Network ("TBN"), a Christian network owned by Paul and Jan Crouch that is carried on the DISH Network. Sky Angel is about trying to unify the body of Christ, not divide it, and when statements like this are made by persons in ministry, it's very disheartening to say the least.

TBN and another Christian station, TCT, did file a pleading in the Dominion/EchoStar litigation against Sky Angel before it had knowledge of Daystar’s statements to EchoStar, and since then, TBN has filed again against Dominion in support of EchoStar in the appeals court. However, it should be noted that TCT formally apologized to Dominion in June 2004 for its participation, stating that it did not completely understand the issues related to this case. Dominion believes TBN may have filed on its own behalf because it was affected by Dominion's lawsuit against EchoStar as well. That is because TBN, which already has an educational channel on DISH Network, has purchased air time on another educational channel, in essence taking it over, in apparent violation of FCC rules which state each organization can only have access to one educational channel; Sky Angel cannot condone any violation of federal law no matter the party. Unfortunately, however, in its filing, TBN chose to discredit all of Sky Angel's Christian programmers with an offensive comment stating that Dominion is a "ghetto for Christian religious satellite broadcasting."

DAYSTAR AND FAMILYNET CLAIM THEY'RE NOT CHRISTIAN NETWORKS
Amazingly, both Daystar and FamilyNet have told the federal court that they aren't even Christian networks. Daystar has been on Sky Angel since 1999 and is still being carried free of charge; FamilyNet was a Sky Angel programmer who also received free air time until 2001 when it took itself off Sky Angel to apparently pursue carriage on DISH Network, despite its knowledge of the Sky Angel-EchoStar Agreement. FamilyNet's programming has not changed since that time and, in fact, to its credit, is one of the most overt Christian ministry networks in America. However, in documents received in this litigation, both Daystar and especially FamilyNet have claimed they are not Christian religious networks as defined in the EchoStar-Dominion Agreement, which states that Christian networks are networks that have as their overriding focus Christian theme and content. FamilyNet's president, in order to redefine FamilyNet as a "non-Christian family programmer" so as to mislead EchoStar in order to acquire a DISH Network television channel which would not breach Dominion's contract with EchoStar, told EchoStar that it considered some Christian ministries to be non-religious/educational in nature such as The 700 Club (Christian talk show), Life Today with James Robison (Christian ministry show), Acquire the Fire with Ron Luce (Christian youth show), Quick Study (Christian Bible teaching show), and Precepts for Life with Kay Arthur (Christian Bible teaching show), because they, quote, "make occasional references to a higher power, or God in a more general sense."

Judge John L. Kane’s July 9, 2003, order removing FamilyNet from the DISH Network (see link to “Federal Court order issuing Preliminary Injunction” below, or click here: Federal Court order issuing Preliminary Injunction) said the following: “The evidence, however, clearly establishes that FamilyNet’s overall programming is Christian-religious as defined in the Agreement. To describe FamilyNet as anything other than Christian-religious programming is absurd. It is true that some of the content of the programs is not specifically religious, but its use of eclectic information such as how well baseball teams are doing has but one purpose, and that is to bring the viewer to the program’s ineluctable Christian-religious message. By analogy, one would have to say that Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ is not a religious painting because it merely portrays thirteen men having dinner.” Judge Kane went on to say: “In a contract with Sky Angel executed on July 8, 1998, FamilyNet certified that its programming was predominantly Christian religious, that it was aware of the EchoStar-Dominion exclusivity provisions, and that its programming fell within the definition of Christian programming under that Agreement. There was no evidence adduced at the hearing even suggesting that FamilyNet has endured a programmatic epiphany. The only inference is that in presenting itself to EchoStar FamilyNet engaged in some monumental fibbing." Incidentally, FamilyNet’s president, Dave Clark, has since resigned from his position to take a position at another organization.

THE GOSPEL IS WIDESPREAD ON DISH NETWORK
There have been allegations by Marcus Lamb that the "Gospel is being stopped" if Daystar and FamilyNet come off DISH Network; these allegations are totally false. As stated previously, Dominion's Agreement with EchoStar provides that several Christian channels be carried on DISH Network, including Sky Angel's "Angel One" channel that provides, by its own choice, free air time to more than 180 Christian ministries in order to preach the Gospel on DISH Network and Sky Angel. Sky Angel has already invited any Christian ministry, including those on FamilyNet and Daystar, to be on "Angel One" and have access to the entire DISH Network viewing audience. However, that would mean that the programmers wouldn't be paying Marcus Lamb for the access to the DISH Network audience.

MARCUS LAMB PROMISES DISH NETWORK HE WILL LOBBY CHRISTIANS TO PURCHASE DISH NETWORK
No where in any documents between EchoStar, FamilyNet and Daystar received through litigation is there any mention, even slightly, of a "goal" of wanting to reach the unchurched on DISH Network with the Gospel, despite Mr. Lamb's on-air claims that this is what this is all about. In fact, all evidence states instead that FamilyNet and Daystar were pledging to EchoStar that each would bring "thousands of Christians" into DISH Network's secular environment, forcing Christians to pay $25 and up a month for a handful of Christian channels, as well as paying for secular channels like MTV that may be in conflict with their Christian values (secular media reports also state that DISH Network carries more pornography than any other cable or satellite company). We think it is extremely troubling that Daystar and FamilyNet would pledge to a non-Christian company that it would "lobby" its Christian supporters to sign up for secular TV. For example, Daystar has used its ministry TV programs to actively promote getting DISH Network and DirecTV to Christian viewers, time that instead could have been used to preach the Gospel. FamilyNet was promoting the DISH Network satellite service to attendees at the June 2003 Southern Baptist Convention, including even promoting to attendees DISH Network programming packages that contained HBO and Showtime.

MARCUS LAMB PLEDGES TO HELP DISH NETWORK CONTROL SATELLITE TELEVISION
Mr. Lamb sent letters out to Daystar programmers and the secular company DISH Network claiming that he objects to Sky Angel, and therefore Christians, owning and controlling a satellite system (the only one in the world owned by Christians). However, in light of Mr. Lamb's supportive statements to DISH Network CEO Charlie Ergen regarding DISH Network's 2002 proposed merger with DirecTV that would have given DISH Network control of almost all of the U.S. satellite systems, we find Mr. Lamb's comments about Sky Angel to be of great concern to the Christian community, especially the Christian broadcasting leadership (see link to "Daystar merger letter" below, or click here: Daystar Merger letter). In the "merger letter" Mr. Lamb pledges to Mr. Ergen that he will help Mr. Ergen become the gatekeeper for all direct-to-home satellite television in the U.S., including Christian television, even to the point of using whatever influence he claims he has with lawmakers to help push the merger through in Washington, D.C.; and he even commits to marketing the merger of this secular company through his Christian television stations (however, note in the "merger letter" Mr. Lamb does not commit to help any other Christian network get on DISH Network). Mr. Lamb made these private pledges to DISH Network at the same time that the National Religious Broadcasters Association as well as other national Christian leaders were publicly stating that it would not be good for Christian television for one person to control 20% of the U.S. television marketplace. The federal government ultimately agreed and denied the merger. Sky Angel finds it troubling that Mr. Lamb has a problem with Christians owning and controlling just one direct-to-home satellite service but apparently has no issues if a secular non-Christian company owns and controls almost all U.S. satellite services; in fact, he will even help them do it.

NO MATTHEW 18 REQUEST
At no time did either Daystar or FamilyNet inform Sky Angel of their actions, and there was no request of a meeting under the directives of "Matthew 18" prior to Daystar or FamilyNet entering into agreements with EchoStar, even though each party acknowledged it knew Dominion would have concerns if it was aware of what they were conspiring to do with EchoStar (according to discovery evidence in November 2002 when Marcus Lamb thought DISH Network may not put him on, he stated to DISH executives if this was about "Dominion and Bob Johnson” to call him off the record and he would give them "compelling information” to alleviate their fears; see link to “Marcus Lamb e-mail about Dominion to EchoStar” below, or click here: Marcus Lamb email about Dominion to Echostar). Daystar only requested a "Matthew 18" meeting after their secret agreements with EchoStar came to light when both channels were added in December 2002 to DISH Network and court action was filed against EchoStar. Because Daystar and FamilyNet made agreements with a secular company, a "Matthew 18" meeting would not apply at this point because EchoStar would not be required to abide by any decisions made in such a Christian-based meeting. Therefore, Dominion has proceeded under the biblical directives of Romans 13:1-5 and Luke 12:2-3. Mr. Lamb has made statements that Dominion's Robert Johnson never agreed to meet with him under the directives of Matthew 18. On the contrary, Mr. Johnson did agree to meet with Mr. Lamb, however, Mr. Lamb sent out a libelous letter to programmers during the same time he was allegedly trying to establish a meeting with Mr. Johnson (see link to "Letters from Mr. Johnson to Mr. Lamb" below, or click here: Letters from Mr. Johnson to Mr. Lamb); when it was apparent that Mr. Lamb's attempts were not made in a biblical fashion, but apparently as a public relations stunt, Sky Angel told Mr. Lamb he had forfeited any meeting. In fact, the chairman of the NRB concurred with Sky Angel and also admonished Mr. Lamb for his disingenuous actions.

DAYSTAR THREATENS TO SUE SKY ANGEL
Dominion has never threatened to sue Daystar, even though it felt it had ample grounds. However, in legal filings, Daystar has threatened to sue Dominion now several times (see Daystar legal filing below, or click here: Daystar filing with court regarding Christian programming). Also, Daystar President Marcus Lamb stated in a May 13, 2003, letter to Dominion's CEO Robert Johnson: "Yes, you could continue your fight with EchoStar, but simply withdraw Daystar from the proceedings by making a waiver, while not giving up your rights with EchoStar." Note that Mr. Lamb asked for a waiver only for himself, not FamilyNet. Mr. Lamb further stated he would launch personal attacks on Sky Angel:

"If you don't grant Daystar a waiver (to go on DISH Network), you would leave me with no choice but to defend ourselves legally with all resources available. Plus, we will go after Dominion, and your Board (of Directors) personally, for sizeable damages. Some of the costs of a legal fight would be in: time, energy, exorbitant legal fees, and damage awards (we are not bound by your arbitration agreement so this would be much more costly...). Bob we can either be enemies or allies. The choice is up to you. What will you really accomplish if you 'win the battle but lose the war?'"

MARCUS LAMB FORCED TO RETRACT LIBELOUS LETTER
Unfortunately, Mr. Lamb made good on his threats to try to damage Sky Angel and “win the war” with misleading and even libelous comments. In his first line of attack, he sent thousands of confused viewers to clog Sky Angel's phone lines, with Sky Angel employees receiving personal threats after Mr. Lamb made on-air implications that Sky Angel's actions against EchoStar are of the devil (however, many viewers have apologized for jumping to conclusions based on the Lambs' misleading comments after reviewing the information on this web site; see link to "A special e-mail of support" copied to Sky Angel below, or click here: A special e-mail of support from among many received) This came just weeks after Mr. Lamb had to retract a “secret” letter he sent out to Christian programmers in late May that libeled Sky Angel for which he had to apologize. In fact, despite a tremendous effort by Mr. Lamb to get Christian leaders to file on his side in the trial, only two did. On the contrary, Sky Angel has received numerous unsolicited letters and calls of support from Christian leaders and channel owners in this matter who believe that Daystar and FamilyNet’s actions are unbiblical; some even gave us letters to file with the court in support of Sky Angel if we needed them. Sadly, neither of the two Christian leaders featured on the “Celebration” program the first night the Lambs launched their attack on Sky Angel actually ever called Sky Angel to see if Mr. Lamb’s version of the story is correct.

Marcus Lamb letter to DISH Network #1

Marcus Lamb letter to DISH Network #2

Federal Court order issuing Preliminary Injunction

Daystar filing with court regarding Christian programming

Daystar Merger letter

Letters from Mr. Johnson to Mr. Lamb

A special e-mail of support from among many received

Daystar August 2003 Newsletter

Marcus Lamb email about Dominion to Echostar

A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM SKY ANGEL FOUNDER ROBERT JOHNSON, WRITTEN BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY AUGUST 5, 2004

A special message from Sky Angel Founder Robert Johnson

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#2 OFFLINE   SkyAngelSat

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 02:39 PM

This information was taken from the Sky Angel website,www.skyangel.com/echostarlawsuit Because this site gets updated with information, it's best to post the link so interested people will have access to the most up to date information as well as being able to click on the links that are shown at the bottom of your post.

Thanks,
SkyAngelSat

#3 OFFLINE   mattb

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:58 PM

What I dont understand though, WHY is EE being blocked.. Its not like SKYangel is wanting to add JCTV to their programming, I wish they would.

#4 OFFLINE   Adam Richey

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 09:33 PM

Because Sky Angel is a two-faced lying company that has lost site of what their goal should be. Their goal is NOT to just spread the gospel. Their goal is to CONTROL the market place so that they can make as much of a profit as possible on their monthly programming service. I think it's stupid Dish Network even agreed to such a deal banning religious stations from being on their service in the first place. I hate to say it, but I hope Sky Angel folds because they obviously don't have the same goal and interests as when they first started.
Anybody else wonder just how horrible WWE's "wrestling" is gonna get?

#5 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 06:26 AM

Because Sky Angel is a two-faced lying company that has lost site of what their goal should be. Their goal is NOT to just spread the gospel. Their goal is to CONTROL the market place so that they can make as much of a profit as possible on their monthly programming service. I think it's stupid Dish Network even agreed to such a deal banning religious stations from being on their service in the first place. I hate to say it, but I hope Sky Angel folds because they obviously don't have the same goal and interests as when they first started.

And now you know why I refer to them as THE Dominion.
  • The Dominion was one of the first to apply for DBS space, yet has NEVER built or launched a satellite as they promised to do by submitting their applications.
  • The Dominion was granted 16 transponders of space - 8 east and 8 west, yet through delays and their inability to keep their word their eastern space was assigned to the worst of the four satellite locations and their western space lost forever.
  • The Dominion has traded away 6 of their 8 transponders of FCC given (The Dominion would say "God given") space on 61.5 to a secular company.
  • The Dominion has placed a restriction on religious broadcasting - only the channels they approve of can be broadcast, and because they only retained enough space for 20 video and 16 audio channels there is NO ROOM for additional religious broadcasts on their system.
  • The Dominion is taking credit for the good works of others - their tyrade copied above seeks to excuse their hoarding of channels because of the grandfathered religious channels and religious programs on other E* channels. Yet NONE of those channels are there because of The Dominion's actions.
  • The Dominion has acted to restrict the spreading of the Gospel. They may not have sued a religious organization, but their lawsuit directly harmed the spreading of the Gospel. It's like cutting the power feed to your local Christian radio station and saying it was an attack on the power company, not the station.
  • The Dominion maintains an attack page on their website, attacking a religious broadcaster, and has attacked that religious broadcaster at the FCC.
  • The Dominion throws around scripture as a weapon against other religious organizations. Yet they don't seem to understand Mark 16:15 . Which, the last time I checked, didn't say "Go into Christian homes and preach the good news to all those willing to pay. Whoever subscribes, believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not subscribe will be condemned."
I'd say that the founder was spinning in his grave, but The Dominion was engaged in these activities while he was still at the helm. Like the existance of FamilyNet and EE was REALLY hurting their sales. (Daystar existed on E* before SA, IIRC.) Why don't they compete like a normal company, by offering a product people are willing to buy? A stable selection of channels that are added to occasionally, not their current "top" 20 video and "top" 16 audio channels and the rest can go to D* or not be seen. Two of the channels are theirs, so it's really a case of "Top 18".

The Dominion is openly preventing religious broadcasters from getting into 10 million American homes - either due to this contract with E* or the lack of space on their own system.

The Dominion - fighting to keep religious broadcasting out of secular homes.

JL

#6 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 06:35 AM

One more thought:
The Dominion does not seem to like the practice of trading Must Carry status for national PI status. Yet they don't mind accepting PI status on 119 in exchange for their contract to carry the rest of their service on 61.5 . If the PI status should not be connected to their other carriage agreement perhaps E* should drop SA from 262? :D

What is good enough for Daystar and FamilyNet should be good enough for SA.

JL

#7 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 09:07 PM

This information was taken from the Sky Angel website,www.skyangel.com/echostarlawsuit Because this site gets updated with information, it's best to post the link so interested people will have access to the most up to date information as well as being able to click on the links that are shown at the bottom of your post.

It also gives you control over changing the message on your website. I'm glad "drfreeman" gave us the archive copy. :D

But let's take a look at their press release:

NEWS & INFORMATION SITE REGARDING THE DOMINION SKY ANGEL/ECHOSTAR DISH NETWORK LAWSUIT

ARBITRATION PANEL RULES IN FAVOR OF DOMINION SKY ANGEL
NAPLES, FL September 13, 2004 – After more than a year of litigation, an arbitration panel has unanimously ruled that EchoStar Communications Corp. (DISH™ Network) violated its contract with direct broadcast satellite (DBS) licensee Dominion Video Satellite Inc., owner-operator of Sky Angel(sm), the nation’s only faith-based direct-to-home satellite television service and the country’s oldest DBS company, and has ordered EchoStar to pay monetary damages to Dominion and to come into compliance with an eight-year-old contract between the two DBS operators.

Appeal pending. "the country's oldest DBS company"? Well I guess if you count "good intentions". DVS is full of good intentions - The initial application was under rules that REQUIRED that DVS follow a timeline to order, build, and launch a satellite and uplink center. DVS has yet to meet any of these milestones ... and the true first and second DBS operators to sell channels own satellites and uplinks. Does DVS? Or is on borrowed equipment because they cannot meet the requirements of their committment? Has DVS forgotten about losing half of their bandwidth because they failed to meet commitments?

In a separate but related matter, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still currently considering whether the trade of must carry stations for a public interest channel is proper and is also investigating whether Daystar Television Network qualifies as a public interest programmer and is allegedly misusing its non-commercial educational broadcast stations in the sale of airtime and commercial advertising.

Interesting that you choose to include this information, yet another slam against Daystar, in your press release. Just can't stop bashing the Lambs?

Skipping...

At no time has Dominion brought any lawsuits against any Christian ministry, and only after other direct efforts to resolve this matter without litigation failed, Dominion was left with no other choice but to take defensive legal action against EchoStar, a secular company, in accordance with Romans 13:1-5 in order to hold EchoStar accountable to its longstanding contract with Dominion and to protect the Sky Angel ministry.

Did Dominion/SkyAngel even care about the damage they would inflict on ministries that they consider Christian?

“We have relied on God for wisdom concerning these matters and have prayed that only His will would ultimately prevail. It is our desire to put this issue behind us and move forward in obedience to the vision that the Lord has given for this important work of ministry,” said Robert Johnson Jr., Dominion’s CFO and interim CEO. Johnson took over leadership of Sky Angel following the death last month of his father, Robert W. Johnson Sr., the founder of the Sky Angel satellite service.

Sometimes God's wisdom is hard to divine when money and ego is involved. Does DVS have an exclusive on this wisdom thing or is it possible that God wanted His message to expand on E* since SkyAngel is at capacity?

A DBS pioneer and visionary, Johnson Sr. was part of the first round of high-power DBS license applicants in 1981, and his was one of only nine companies to receive a construction permit and launch authority from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a high-power DBS service in 1984. Dominion today remains the sole DBS survivor of that pioneering group and is one of only four companies in the United States licensed to own and operate a high-power DBS service. Sky Angel is the only DBS company with a Christian mission and purpose.

Words on paper and a webpage are best backed by Christian actions. :)

Dominion appreciates the wide support from within the Christian community during this extremely trying time. The mission and purpose of Sky Angel is to develop a worldwide multi-channel, high-power direct broadcast satellite broadcasting system for spreading the Gospel free of secular control, as distinct from every other commercial-secular cable or satellite system.

Question: If the purpose was to be "free of secular control" why did you make a deal with a secular company, and trade away six of your transponders limiting the number of channels you could offer? Hmmm 16 transponders given by the FCC and DVS's own actions have cut the system to 2. Is that stewardship? Giving away 88% of your God given bandwidth?

As the only Christian organization in the world licensed by any government to operate a high-power satellite system, Sky Angel is a valuable tool for the Church to move in unity, to evangelize the lost, and to equip the body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission, so it is essential to defend and protect the vision given for Sky Angel by holding accountable those who try to bring harm to this ministry.

With all due respect, God was in business LONG before SkyAngel and will be in business LONG after SkyAngel is a forgotten blip in Christian history. When one places their own survival over the kingdom, they risk losing God's protection.

Dominion will continue to press forward with its plans to provide the Gospel to every nation in the world through a Christian-owned and -controlled satellite television delivery system in obedience to the vision the Lord gave for the Sky Angel ministry 24 years ago.

I believe you need your vision checked.

JL




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