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DBS has found a new ally in its must-carry battle. C-SPAN, the government-affairs cable network, is urging a federal court to strike down a law taking effect in 2002 that requires direct-broadcast satellite operators to carry all local TV stations in markets where they carry any.

In a court brief filed in Alexandria, Va. Nov. 27, C-SPAN said the law intruded on the First Amendment rights of cable networks and forced them to scramble for access to the limited number of remaining channels on the spectrum-constrained DBS platform.

Under the proposed Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, no DBS carrier is obligated to carry a local TV station. But if even one station is carried, then all stations in the market must be carried.

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