EchoStar Loses Key SHVIA Ruling


EchoStar Communications Corp. suffered a blow to its hopes of offering
subscribers local signals imported from distant TV stations after a District
Court in Florida threw out several counterclaims the direct-broadcast satellite
provider had filed against broadcasters.

The fight began in 1998, when broadcasters alleged that EchoStar "engaged in
gross violations" of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act.

EchoStar -- which wants to import station feeds to subscribers who live in
areas that can't receive over-the-air signals from local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox
stations -- had accused the National Association of Broadcasters and local
network affiliates of unfair competition and conspiracy to commit tortuous

But the court rejected EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen's claims.

"The testimony relied upon by EchoStar is pure speculation and does not
amount to more than a mere scintilla of evidence in support of EchoStar's
assertion that it has been harmed by the statements at issue," the court

Naturally, NAB president Eddie Fritts cheered the ruling.