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August 24, 2006

EchoStar Loses Appeal on Broadcast Retransmission

EchoStar has lost a lawsuit brought against it by broadcast television networks over its retransmission of distant market network signals to rural customers.  The suit alleged violations of the Satellite Viewer Act of 1988 and the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 which allow those transmissions to unserved households for over-the-air broadcasts.  EchoStar (dba Dish Network) sent distant market broadcasts to about 800,000 rural subscribers.  The problem was that the customers could receive local channels over the air. 

EchoStar had been negotiating with local stations while the suit was in progress and had reached some settlements.  The suit continued for those stations who hadn't settled.  The 11th Circuit ruled in May that EchoStar had to stop the transmissions.  Justice Thomas denied a stay on Monday which means that these customers will lose their major network channels, typically from New York and Los Angeles.  Oh well, better get back on the barn roof and set up the antenna.  Otherwise we might miss the news at the Shady Rest.

The 11th Circuit opinion is here.  The story is in the Washington Post.

August 24, 2006 | Permalink


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