COMMENTARY

The Supreme Court Enters The Radio Age

The grim coronavirus pandemic has brought one welcome change that the Supreme Court should make permanent: Oral arguments, conducted for the moment via teleconference, have been broadcast live, bringing Americans closer than ever to a key organ of their government.

Affils Join Call For SCOTUS To Consider Dereg

“The FCC’s anachronistic ownership rules place local broadcasters at a decided disadvantage against other competitors in the complex, fast-evolving, highly competitive video marketplace,” the Big 4 affiliate groups told the Supreme Court.

Gray To Supremes: FCC Got Dereg Right

Gray Television has filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court backing the FCC’s appeal of a federal court’s smackdown of its broadcast deregulation decision. Gray told the court it was imperative that it hear the FCC appeal, reverse the Third Circuit, and allow the FCC’s “media modernization” to proceed.

Supreme Court Takes Modest But Historic Step

The Supreme Court’s first teleconference oral argument went off relatively smoothly Monday, and its orderly round of questioning was enough to entice Justice Clarence Thomas, who usually asks none. Forced from gathering in their grand Washington courtroom because of threats presented by the coronavirus, the justices spent a little more than an hour on a trademark dispute case. But because the arguments were widely broadcast by media outlets, it made history as the first time the public could listen in remotely as advocates made their cases.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | After Proxy Loss, Pondering Kim’s Next Move

Soo Kim took a shot across the bow at Tegna’s management in conceding his loss in a proxy fight last week. But beyond his Tegna stake, he’s backing other broadcast ventures in which a larger strategy is harder to see. Bonus news and commentary: The pandemic could hurt retrans revenue as well as ad revenue; group stock prices can’t get much worse; Nexstar offers a hard plan to soften AE woes; and TV and radio take another step toward full newsgathing equality.

Court TV To Air Live Audio Of Supreme Court Arguments

Court TV will air live audio of the cases being presented in front of the Supreme Court of the United States beginning May 4 at 10 a.m. ET. Americans will be able to listen to real-time arguments in the highest court in the country, with several cases involving President Donald Trump. To follow COVID-19 guidelines set […]

FCC Seeks SCOTUS Review Of Dereg Smackdown

The Solicitor General of the United States, on behalf of the FCC, has asked the Supreme Court to review a U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning most of its media ownership deregulation decision, hammering the circuit for what the FCC suggested was serial obstruction of what it had concluded was in the public interest.

Supreme Court Postpones April Arguments

The Supreme Court on Friday said it would postpone oral arguments scheduled for its April session amid the coronavirus pandemic.

SCOTUS Tosses Appeals Decision In Allen Case

The justices agreed unanimously that an appeals court applied the wrong legal standard in allowing business owner Byron Allen’s $20 billion suit against Comcast to go forward. Allen has a separate $10 billion suit against Charter Communications that the justices’ decision also affects.

NFL Taking Case To Supreme Court

The National Football League is concerned that a revolution may be at hand with respect to the way that its games get televised to millions of fans. On Friday, pointing to how teams currently pool TV rights and then license packages to distributors, the league asked the Supreme Court to review an antitrust case with the potential of upsetting an arrangement that has served the league for more than a quarter century.

Supreme Court Turns Down Facebook Fight

The Supreme Court on Tuesday left in place a ruling that allows Illinois residents to proceed with a lawsuit accusing Facebook of violating a state biometric privacy law by compiling “faceprints.”

Supreme Court Could Become ‘Stream’ Court

At about the same time that Chief Justice John Roberts was being sworn in to preside over the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, a pair of legislators, one a current and one a former House impeachment manager, were introducing a bill that would make the default setting that “real time or near-real time [access] on the internet,” either audio or video, of all appeals courts, including the highest court in the land, would be allowed.

NFL Rights Case Heads To Supreme Court

A significant antitrust battle could upset how the league sells game telecasts for billions of dollars and usher in an era when teams would compete for licensing deals.

Justices Hears Byron Allen v. Comcast Arguments

After hearing arguments Wednesday, Supreme Court justices seemed to agree that an appeals court applied the wrong legal standard in allowing Entertainment Studios owner Byron Allen’s $20 billion race bias suit against Comcast to go forward.

Byron Allen, Comcast To Square Off Today

Byron Allen’s racial discrimination case against Comcast Corp. heads to the Supreme Court today, where justices will consider Comcast’s argument that the case should hinge on two words: “but for.” Allen filed a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast in February 2015, arguing that the nation’s largest cable operator was discriminating against his company, Entertainment Studios, by refusing to carry its seven lifestyle cable channels. Comcast maintained the decision was made strictly on business grounds because of the lack of audience demand for Allen’s channels.

Comcast Threatened With Being ‘Broken Up’

Less than a week before Comcast and Department of Justice lawyers will face off against Byron Allen in the Supreme Court in the Entertainment Studios boss’ $20 billion discrimination lawsuit against the NBCUniverisal owner, Rep. Bobby Rush now wants the telecommunications giant brought down to size.

Allen v. Comcast Could Reshape Bias Suits

While TV mogul Byron Allen alleges racism in refusing to license his niche channels, U.S. businesses worry that a win for him during the new Supreme Court term would increase legal costs and hurt their reputations.

Comcast & Byron Allen’s $20B SCOTUS Battle Heats Up

Days before the new session of the Supreme Court is set to begin, an ever-growing chorus of displeasure with the alliance between Comcast and Donald Trump’s Department of Justice in Byron Allen’s $20 billion battle with the NBCUniversal owner grew even louder and potentially more presidential.

Byron Allen Rips Comcast, Justice Dept.

Heading towards a $20 billion showdown with Comcast at the U.S. Supreme Court this fall in his long running racial discrimination lawsuit against the media giant, Byron Allen today tore into the Brian Roberts-run company and an 11th hour intervention by the Department of Justice. “This is historic,” the Entertainment Studios boss said of an Aug. 15 brief filed by the feds seeking to tighten the definitions of a Reconstruction Era statute in Comcast’s favor. “Donald Trump’s DOJ and Comcast are working together to destroy a civil rights statute in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

STATION ADVISORY

SCOTUS: Public Access TV Is Actually Private

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Kavanaugh, who was joined by the court’s four traditionally conservative justices (Roberts, Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch), preserves editorial discretion for public access channels.

FUCT Wins Free-Speech Trademark Battle

The Supreme Court struck down a section of federal law Monday that prevented businesses from registering trademarks seen as scandalous or immoral, handing a victory to California fashion brand FUCT.

Supreme Court To Hear Cable TV Bias Dispute

On Monday, the justices of the high court announced that they had accepted for review a case claiming discrimination in contracting against Comcast in alleged violation of section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act. The $20 billion lawsuit comes from Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Network, an African American owned programmer upset over the way that cable TV distributors refused to make good offers to license his channels.

Thomas Calls for Reviewing Libel Ruling

Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday called for the Supreme Court to reconsider New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 ruling interpreting the First Amendment to make it hard for public officials to prevail in libel suits. He said the decision was the product of unprincipled “legal alchemy” that had no basis in the Constitution as understood by the people who drafted and ratified it.

Supreme Court Staying Out Of ‘Empire’ Lawsuit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is staying out of a lawsuit involving the television show “Empire.” The high court said Tuesday it won’t take a case involving the Fox show, which follows a black family navigating the ups and downs of the record industry. That means a decision in favor of “Empire” co-creators Danny […]

SCOTUS Won’t Review Olivia de Havilland’s ‘Feud’ Lawsuit

FNC To SCOTUS: Reject TVEyes Petition

Fox News doesn’t want the U.S. Supreme Court to review its copyright win against the media monitoring service TVEyes. On Wednesday, the cable news giant submitted its opposition to a cert petition and downplayed the stakes other than implying that a reversal of earlier decisions in the case would undercut the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in training journalists and gathering news.

Olivia De Havilland Takes ‘Feud’ Feud To SCOTUS

Olivia de Havilland Taking ‘Feud’ To Supreme Court

Ginsburg Hints: Five More Years At SCOTUS

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she hopes to stay on the Supreme Court until the age of 90. “I’m now 85,” Ginsburg said on Sunday. “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so I think I have about at least five more years.”

Nets To Preempt Prime For SCOTUS Nomination

The major networks are making room in Monday’s primetime schedule for President Donald Trump’s unveiling of his Supreme Court nominee. Trump’s decision to break the news at 9 p.m. ET on a weeknight — with three days advance notice — was clearly an effort to bring some showmanship to the announcement of his second choice of a judge to join the nine-member panel of the nation’s highest court.

Senators Seek Same-Day SCOTUS Audio

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have called on the Supreme Court to release same-day audio of all oral arguments. That came in a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts pointing out that the court had released same-day audio of Donald Trump v. Hawaii, the Fourth […]

SCOTUS Weighs Major Digital Privacy Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today takes up a major test of privacy rights in the digital age as it weighs whether police must obtain warrants to get data on the past locations of criminal suspects using cellphone data from wireless providers.

SCOTUS Takes Technological Step Forward

The court is making new legal filings available online starting Monday, years behind the rest of the federal court system.

SCOTUS Rejects Samsung Appeal In Apple Case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected Samsung’s appeal of court rulings that it impermissibly copied features of Apple’s iPhone. The justices on Monday left in place rulings in favor of Apple involving its patents for smartphone features that include auto-correct and a slide that unlocks the device. In 2014, a jury awarded Apple […]

SCOTUS Pases On Madden Video Game Case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pass. That’s what the Supreme Court has decided to do with a copyright dispute case stemming from a classic football video game. The court said Monday it won’t take up the case involving John Madden Football. A computer programmer behind the original 1988 hit game for the Apple II computer wanted the […]

Dish Wants SCOTUS To Review Florida TV Tax

Pointing to “protectionism,” Dish Network is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a constitutional challenge to a Florida law that sets different tax rates for cable and satellite TV services. The long-running battle focuses on the state’s communications-services tax, which is 4.92% on the sale of cable services and 9.07% on the sale of satellite-TV services.

SCOTUS Lets Pro-Facebook Decision Stand

The Supreme Court won’t review a ruling that Power Ventures, a defunct aggregation service, violated a federal hacking law by scraping Facebook’s site.

SCOTUS Grants Extension In Net Neutrality

The US Supreme Court on Thursday granted a request from NCTA, AT&T, ACA and others for more time to appeal the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet order. They now have until Sept. 28 to file a petition with the court.

How 7 Dirty Words Fostered An Open Internet

Twenty years ago today the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision and unanimously overturned congressional legislation that made it unlawful to transmit “indecent” material on the Internet if that content could be viewed by minors. The justices ruled that the same censorship standards being applied to broadcast radio and television could not be applied to the Internet.

STATION ADVISORY

SCOTUS OKs Disparaging Tradmarks

The U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated the statutory bar against the federal registration of disparaging trademarks, on the ground that it violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional. What does this mean for businesses in general, including, in particular, broadcasters and the Washington National Football League franchise?