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. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.