U.S. Court of Appeals Rejects Antitrust Challenge to Tiered Bundling of Cable Networks


It has long been the subject of fierce debate whether cable television and DBS distributors should be forced to unbundle their program tiers and sell channels to subscribers on an "a la carte" basis, and in turn whether major programmers should be forbidden from conditioning the licensing of their most popular, "must-have" networks on cable and DBS operators' carriage of their less popular ones. While most often fought on a policy basis before the Federal Communications Commission, the issue also has played out in the courts.

On June 3, 2011, in Brantley et al. v. NBC Universal, Inc. et al., a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, issued a unanimous opinion holding that consumer plaintiffs who brought a class action to force the unbundling of cable and DBS operators' program tiers had failed to adequately plead an antitrust claim against either the operators or programmers named as defendants in the suit. The plaintiffs have vowed to seek rehearing of the panel's decision by the full Court of Appeals, en banc, and if necessary to seek certiorari review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.