Time Warner Presses VBI Issue

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Even after a complaint was withdrawn, Time Warner Cable urged the Federal
Communications Commission Thursday to rule on a challenge to cable operators'
rights to block electronic program guides embedded in off-air TV signals.

Time Warner's request came one day after Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.
told the FCC it was withdrawing its complaint against the MSO.

Gemstar had argued that the cable operator was illegally stripping Gemstar's
EPG from the broadcast vertical-blanking interval on nine systems in eight
states.

Gemstar claimed that the FCC had to honor the withdrawal, but Time Warner
said the agency has discretion to act and determine cable's legal authority to
restrict access to the VBI by third-party EPG providers.

'Gemstar's assertion that the FCC lacks discretion to immediately rule on
this matter is misplaced,' Time Warner said in a five-page filing.

Gemstar filed the complaint last March, leading to more than one year of
analysis and debate within the FCC. The withdrawal notice came just eight days
before the commission was planning to vote on the matter at its April 19 public
meeting, where Gemstar was not expected to prevail, according to FCC
sources.

Last June, Time Warner agreed to stop stripping the EPG while Gemstar's
complaint was active at the FCC and while Gemstar did not frustrate or delay the
agency's review of Time Warner's rebuttal to the complaint.

Time Warner said the FCC should not automatically honor Gemstar's '11th-hour'
withdrawal, noting that Gemstar itself told the commission Time Warner's
decision to stop stripping did not resolve the underlying legal
dispute.

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