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Supreme Court is scheduled to hear local broadcast-TV-carriage law as applied to DBS

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by John Corn, Jun 10, 2002.

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  1. John Corn

    John Corn Hall Of Fame

    Mar 21, 2002
    The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide this coming week whether to hear a case on the constitutionality of a local broadcast-TV-carriage law as applied to the direct-broadcast satellite industry.

    Under the law, a DBS carrier is required to carry every requesting local TV station in a market where that carrier has elected to provide any local TV stations.

    The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association and EchoStar Communications Corp. maintained that the carriage mandate violates the First Amendment because it effectively restricts the number of markets a DBS carrier may serve and promotes the speech of lightly viewed stations in a served market over that of network affiliates in an unserved market.

    DirecTV Inc. -- the parent company of which, Hughes Electronics Corp., is hoping to merge with EchoStar -- was an original plaintiff but dropped out of the case in March.

    The carriage mandate -- a 1999 provision of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act -- was upheld in December by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit just a few weeks before the 'carry one, carry all' mandate was to take effect.

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  2. woodman

    woodman Mentor

    May 17, 2002
    Let's hope that the Court is wise enough to see that this case needs to be heard, and further that the must-carry rule, while valid for the "cable" industry should not be applied to DBS satellite, where it's completely inappropriate.

    It was pushed into being by the lobbying efforts of the cableTV industry as an attempt to strike a crippling blow to DBS - the only real competitor they've ever had. This is the epitome of "dirty pool" if I ever heard of it, and yet another example of how our government makes decisions that favor big business over our best interests and rights.
  3. Guest

    It had nothing to do with cable.

    It had everything to do with the NAB.

    When the DBS companies first tried to overturn the law, cablers actually sided with them. Time Warner has argued that must-carry is unconstitutional, and gave the DBS companies their support in the matter.
  4. RichW

    RichW Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Mar 29, 2002
    Agreed. It can be argued that must-carry is a government "taking" without compensation to the property owner. This applies to cable as well as DBS. In fact, cable had a much stronger case because it does not use resources which are in the public domain (i.e. spectrum). While I would hope for a decision against must-carry, the odds are very much against DBS in this case as the Court has already ruled against cable in a similar case.
  5. zuma hans

    zuma hans Guest

    Apr 23, 2002
    Anything "can" be argued.

    But not argued successfully.

    The Supreme Court has rejected this argument over and over. It just rejected the cable industry's must-carry arguments a few months ago.

    This is DOA. Anyone with a lawyer and a desire for publicity can appeal all the way to the SCOTUS: BFD.
  6. lkw

    lkw AllStar

    Apr 24, 2002
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