DBS fighting own must-carry battle
The DBS industry is banding together and planning to file suit Wednesday to overturn a law that requires DBS carriers to carry all local TV stations in markets where they provide any local TV signals beginning in 2002, sources said.
The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association, DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. will file the suit in the Eastern District of Virginia.
DirecTV and EchoStar have complained that the "carry-one, carry-all" mandate would eat up their channel capacity and deny them the ability to serve dozens of new markets with just the local affiliates of NBC, ABC Inc., CBS Corp. and Fox Broadcasting Co.
The DBS industry says the law violates its free-speech rights and represents a taking of private property without just compensation.
The cable industry tried to overturn must-carry as applied to cable operators under the 1992 Cable Act, but the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 1997 that the law was constitutional under the First Amendment.