Programmers Seek Court Stay Of FCC Contracts Call

As expected, major content companies have gone to court to try and get an emergency stay of the FCC's decision to allow hundreds of third parties to access sensitive programming contract information and work product—memos, emails—as part of the FCC's vetting of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV deals.

The petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which was filed Nov. 11, was actually an appeal of the Media Bureau decision, not the full FCC vote to confirm that decision, which came Monday after the companies had already filed the court papers, according to a content company source speaking on background.

Joining in the petition were CBS, Scripps Networks Interactive, Disney, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, Univision and Viacom.

They will have to be tweaked to address the full commission decision, which the source suggested was rushed and needs a longer look than the couple of hours that dissenting commissioner Ajit Pai said he got before having to cast a vote. But the the basis of the stay request remains the same.

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.