Comcast-TWC Third-Party Documents Off Table

But AT&T-DirecTV Watchers Still Looking for Court Decision

So, now that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal is off, what will become of the lawsuit field by programmers against the FCC's decision to allow third-party access to thousands of programming contract-related documents and work product in the deal?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has not yet ruled, but the case involved contracts in both the Comcast-TWC and AT&T-DirecTV deals, so the suit goes on, as does the vetting by the FCC and Justice of the AT&T-DirecTV merger proposal.

If the court rules in favor of allowing access, an attorney involved in the suit speaking on background said that they presumed the FCC would not make the contracts related to the Comcast-TWC deal available to those hundreds of third parties since there is no longer any justification for doing so.

Public Knowledge, which was one of the outside parties seeking access to the Comcast-TWC documents, said that it considered the request moot now that the deal was off. It did not request access to the AT&T-DirecTV documents.

An FCC spokesperson was checking on the legal status of the case at press time and whether the FCC would be notifying the court about Comcast's official withdrawal of the application, which a Comcast source said would happen sometime Friday (April 24).  An attorney familiar with the process said the FCC would likely be filing a notification to the court explaining that a portion of the case was now moot.

Also at press time, the D.C. court had released its Friday cases and the FCC decision challenge was not among them.