A U.S. District Court judge in Miami, who could terminate the local TV
service of millions of EchoStar Communications Corp. customers due to alleged
company copyright violations, is working on his opinion but with no specific
release date in mind.
"It's definitely being worked on, but I couldn't guess if it is going to
happen this week," said Tammy Barlow, judicial secretary to presiding U.S. Judge
William P. Dimitrouleas. "Definitely not today [Monday]."
CBS and Fox Broadcasting Co. and the affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox have
sued EchoStar, alleging that the direct-broadcast satellite carrier sold
out-of-market network signals to ineligible customers in violation of the 1999
Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act.
Both broadcast and satellite sources said the SHVIA contains a "death
penalty" provision that requires Dimitrouleas to issue an injunction enjoining
EchoStar from providing "any" broadcast signal if EchoStar has engaged in
"willful and repeated" copyright violations.
The case started in 1998 under the SHVIA's predecessor law. DirecTV Inc.
settled and was dropped from the case.
EchoStar has an estimated 4 million customers who subscribe to local TV
package or distant network packages, or, in some cases, to