Court to hear SBCA appeal

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., has agreed to hear the direct broadcast satellite industry's plea for relief from its broadcast carriage obligations in a single argument this September.

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association-along with its two top companies, DirecTV and EchoStar Communications Corp., had filed two separate lawsuits in Virginia courts challenging a law and concurrent FCC rules that required satellite operators to carry every local TV signal in every local market they chose to serve. The federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria ruled against the satellite industry last month, and the industry appealed that decision to the Fourth Circuit Court.

That court already had a similar lawsuit in front of them challenging the FCC's rules on satellite carriage of local TV stations, so the industry asked the court to consolidate both cases and hear oral arguments all at once. Oral arguments will be held the week of Sept. 24.
- Paige Albiniak

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