Federal court rules in favor of Indy company

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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A federal appeals court in Florida has upheld an Indianapolis-based company's right to sell distant networking programming to its customers, finding the company was acting in accordance with the Satellite Home Viewer Act (SHVA).

The unanimous opinion from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday, CBS Broadcasting Inc., et al. v. EchoStar Communications d.b.a. DISH Network, et al. No. 07-10020, ruled National Programming Service (NPS), a proposed intervenor-cross-appellant on the case, has the right to lease satellite equipment from EchoStar Communications Corp. even though EchoStar was involved in a lawsuit and had an injunction in place prohibiting the company from transmitting network programming to served and unserved customers.

Under SHVA, satellite carriers like NPS are able to get a compulsory, statutory license to engage in secondary transmission of copyrighted programming to unserved households - those that are unable to receive network programming at a specified level of intensity through the use of conventional rooftop antennas.

NPS saw an opportunity to step into the business after the injunction was placed against EchoStar. In 2006, NPS reached a deal with EchoStar about leasing its satellite equipment, which allowed NPS to use EchoStar's satellite transponder to retransmit distant network programming to unserved households that signed with NPS.

In 1998, several television networks and their affiliates sued EchoStar in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida claiming the company improperly provided distant network programming to served households - subscribers to the DISH Network satellite brand. An injunction was entered to stop the company from providing the programming under the SHVA's statutory license.

After the deal was reached between NPS and EchoStar, the television networks accused NPS of violating the injunction. The Florida federal court and now the 11th Circuit have ruled in favor of NPS.

The appellate court ruled NPS was lawfully transmitting network signals to unserved households pursuant to the act, said Todd Vare, partner at Barnes & Thornburg's intellectual property department who represented NPS in the suit.

"It's an important ruling in terms of how the court interpreted the statute," he said, adding it "allowed NPS to lease satellite equipment from somebody else without that somebody else somehow being subject to the statute."

The ruling also touched upon a public policy issue in the small-dish market. There were only two competitors - DISH Network and DIRECTV. If the injunction issued against EchoStar applied to NPS, then customers would have been left with only one provider and it would have essentially created a monopoly in the small-dish market, Vare said.

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.