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EchoStar loses bid to offer local TV beyond market

WASHINGTON, May 20 (Reuters) - EchoStar Communications Corp. (NasdaqNM:DISH - News) lost a bid to broadcast a local television channel beyond that market when the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the satellite television provider's appeal of a lower court ruling.
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A federal appeals court last September upheld a federal law that restricts the broadcast of local, over-the-air television stations to its home market, but the No. 2 U.S. satellite television provider argued the law violated free speech rights.

Without comment or dissent, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. The suit was against Viacom Inc.'s (NYSE:VIAb - News) CBS Broadcasting Inc., which did not even file a brief opposing Echostar's appeal.

EchoStar argued that viewers should be able to choose the local TV channels they want to watch, just as they may select subscriptions to various newspapers from around the country.

The company is seeking permission from federal regulators to acquire its bigger satellite television rival, DirecTV, and its parent Hughes Electronics (NYSE:GMH - News), but faces skepticism from communications regulators and significant opposition from local television broadcasters.
 

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Could this be the end of "Distant Locals", even in so-called
white areas?
If so, all I have to say is "Oh Canada, we stand on guard
for thee..."
 

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I don't think the law concerning Distant Nets was affected by this court case, since they ruled against EchoStar's argument.

Distent locals could well end in November of 2004 when the law expires, though.
 

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Originally posted by JohnH
I don't think the law concerning Distant Nets was affected by this court case, since they ruled against EchoStar's argument.
Actually, they did not rule against E*'s argument. They just refused to hear it. So the current law stands.

Personally, I think it is a bad decision. If I can subscribe to The New York Times instead of the Los Angeles Times, why can't I subscribe to WNBC instead of KNBC?

E* was really representing all TV consumers with this brief. When it comes to media content we should all have freedom of choice within reasonable limits.
 

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The issue is NOT what you can pick up. You can pick up whatever you want.

The issue is what Echostar can pluck from the sky and resell to you.

Echostar does not have the right to take copyrighted material and do whatever it wants with it.
 

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The difference is - a newspaper subscription is something you pay for - a television broadcast is something that is free (not including the re-broadcast fees charged by cable and DBS). I know this sounds like heracy, but for free OTA to continue, broadcasters need advertising revenue. Advertisers need to reach the local markets. If I decided that New York NBC is better than Salt Lake NBC, then the local NBC affiliate loses me as a potential revenue source, therefore their ability to stay in business providing local coverage in Salt Lake.

I agree with the courts on this one.
 

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Legend
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I disagree with the court. If I am watching the LA NBC, but I live in Nashville, TN. I am still going to be spending my money with the local advertiser. I am now preparing to start a campagin with my congressman to get things changed. Iti is time the NAB go away.
 

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What would make much more sense is that I should first have to accept my local channels, but then allow me to choose any *additional* channels I would like to add from *anywhere* I wish. That way the local channels don't lose subscribers and I get what I want... The court blew it big time with this one, and it leaves consumers with a bad taste of NAB halitosis in their mouth...
 

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Swampthing has a good suggestion.

BTW, I wasn't talking about grabbing someone's copywrited content for free. I'm talking about getting the content I want from whoever wants to provide it to me.

The law today, and my local NW affiliate, prevent me from seeing a distant signal that I might want & the station might want to provide. That's just plain wrong.

It's up to the local station, just like the local paper, to compete for my attention with content that interests me.
 

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the solution to this and also the whole bandwidth problem having ALL the dmas on satellite is so simple no one will ever allow it-satellite inroads are always going to be a relative fraction of the market(you will ALWAYS have a LOT of people like my father who feel it's a waste of money when you can easily get tv for free)-have both an east coast and a west coast version(time scheme)of reg and hdtv signal-these channels are not originated from any dma but are broadcast specifically for satellite-then have the provider pay a fee to the local dma that the customer lives in, regardless whether he is getting east coast, west coast or both feeds-the customer can used his rabbit ears for the local news(this could easily apply to stations like PAX and telemundo who also have OTA broadcasts)... most people who have sat are probably going to have technology to skip over local commercials anyway, so that is a specious(sic) arguement at best...

as for me and my house, we are on the prowl for a burned out, non repairable RV we can get the title cheap to...:lol: :hi:
 

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I too would like the choice butt hte law---good or bad---is pretty clear. the local ststions want their ads seen by local eyeballs. And while gary and others will still spend money locally----it sure won't be because of the ads that will never reach him.


The fault here lies with the legislature not the courts.
 

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Are ADS really an issue? Since I got my DirecTiVo I don't watch ads anyway - even if they ARE local ones.
 

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If/when my DMA is carried by E*, it will only contain 3 nets (one is PBS). I would agree with accepting these first but having the option of choosing adjacent, larger market stations. The locals I would have access to are pretty lousy & the viewing public might be better served if they did close up shop.
 

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Arcane Movie Trivia King
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that is the PRIMARY arguement by the local affiliates and the feds seem willing to buy into it-where it won't apply is when all the nets end up using sat as the primary carrier for their HDTV signal-"they" have put too much money into it to just walk away and sorry to say, OTA HDTV is iffy at best(i had a customer who lived in downtown dallas and can't get a half decent HDTV signal OTA if his life depended on it)-I predicty that by the end of this year all the majors and minors will have one East and one West HDTV on sat and the reason why the local affiliates won't cry and sue is because the network will want that, while on the other hand they could care less about interfering in the DMA issue on the reg broadcast channels...
 
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