Monday, August 1, 2011

FCC Stops Cable From Pulling Channels During Disputes

The FCC has issued a ruling restricting the ability of cable and satellite TV providers to pull channels off their services during carriage disputes, according to an order released on Monday.

The FCC’s so-called “standstill order” means that a cable or satellite company must continue to carry an affected channel under terms of the previous contract until the commission offers a ruling on any complaints stemming from a carriage dispute.

Carriers are also prohibited from denying distribution to independent program suppliers in order to carry programs in which the cable or satellite company has a financial stake.

Monday’s order is a victory for independent producers and channels, providing them protection from what some consider to be the near-monopolistic reach of cable distributors. The order also provides a mechanism for wronged parties to receive lost revenue if a complaint is found to have merit.

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