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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 29, 2010

News Corp Rejects Cablevision's Latest Offer, Standoff Rolls Into Week Three

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

The negotiations between News Corp (News - Alert)., and Cablevision took another step backwards on Thursday when the owner of Fox Networks rejected the cable provider's latest offer. For the last 14 days, more than 3 million Cablevision customers in New York and Philadelphia have been without Fox programming due to a contract dispute between the two companies.

With no near end to the quarrel in sight, Cablevision has tried some unorthodox tactics to force News Corp's hand. The nation's eighth-largest cable provider has asked the FCC (News - Alert) to step in on behalf of consumers and has even agreed to binding arbitration, which News Corp., has continually rejected.

On Thursday, Cablevision appealed to government entities and non-profit organizations, asking them to consider enacting a 34-year-old copyright exemption that would allow them to retransmit the World Series over the Internet. Major League Baseball's championship series, which is being contested by the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers, began on Wednesday and is broadcasted exclusively on Fox.

Citing the 1976 Copyright Act, Cablevision suggests that government entities and non-profit organizations have the right to re-broadcast content that serves the interest of the public.

“With a simple antenna and Internet streaming capacity, a governmental entity or non-profit organization could do a tremendous public service and extend the reach of this broadcast programming—just as Congress intended," Cablevision said in a release.

A company spokesperson noted that Cablevision issued the release to "heighten public awareness about this existing statutory exemption." As of today, no government or non-profit organization has stepped forward to grant the cable provider's request. With the Giants already leading the Rangers 2-0 in the best of seven series, Cablevision is running out of time to appease its customer base.

The dispute between the two companies began when News Corp., demanded that Cablevision pay them $150 million for 12 months of Fox programming, more than twice the amount of last year's contract.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf