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Latest Bout: Networks v. DirecTV.

By August, DirecTV may have lost the ability to broadcast network programming to almost 2.25 million American subscribers. A judge in Miami had ordered DirecTV to cease broadcasting network transmissions via satellite by February 28. The following Thursday, March 4, the House Commerce Committee's telecommunications subcommittee had approved legislation calling for a 180-day moratorium on the cutoff order. One week later, DirecTV agreed to settle out of court with the networks concerning which viewers can keep receiving the network's programming from the satellite broadcaster. Although the deal has not yet been announced, the Miami judge who has been hearing the case would first have to approve the deal.

The court order originally resulted from a lawsuit brought against DirecTV by CBS and Fox networks contending that the satellite transmissions were taking away from the advertising revenue and ratings from their local affiliates. Last year, a federal judge found that Prime Time 24, a contractor of DirecTV, had ignored a 1988 law limiting the satellite broadcast of network programming and ordered the initial cutoff. On February 23, DirecTV announced that it would evade last year's ruling by supplying network signals directly rather than through another company.

A bill approved last month, by the Senate Judiciary Committee would enable satellite providers to acquire the copyright licenses needed to transmit local broadcasts, as cable operators do.
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Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 1999
Words:224
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