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

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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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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.
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