December 1 Deadline for EchoStar Cut-offs
On December 1, 2006, EchoStar, in response to a court-ordered injunction, cut off its DISH Network customers from access to distant network signals. This action comes after a ten-year legal battle between network affiliates and EchoStar concerning its illegal transmission of distant network signals that trample upon the distribution rights of local broadcasters. The court ordered this unusual action because it found that EchoStar had violated the Copyright Act's provisions "in every way imaginable." As a consequence, EchoStar has lost its legal ability to deliver any distant network signals and was required to come into compliance on December 1.
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In a last minute maneuver, EchoStar has entered into a scheme with a third party - National Programming Service LLC ("NPS") - whereby NPS would lease EchoStar transponders and use EchoStar's frequencies to deliver distant signals to subscribers with EchoStar satellite dishes. The affiliates have asked the court to prevent this blatant attempt to violate the terms of the permanent injunction.
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