WASHINGTON -- The National Cable Satellite Corporation, owner of C-SPAN, the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is the target of an antitrust lawsuit filed today by Sky Angel U.S., LLC, the Naples, Florida-based operator of the multichannel internet-cable TV service, FAVE-TV(SM).
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that C-SPAN violated the antitrust laws when it withdrew its programming from Sky Angel in 2009 after appearing on Sky Angel's line up for only a few days. C-SPAN covers the proceedings of the U.S. Congress and carries other public affairs programming. The non-profit National Cable Satellite Corporation is owned and operated by the U.S. cable industry.
The suit alleges that although C-SPAN produces public interest programming, "it ceased to act as a legitimate collaboration among competitors when it withheld C-SPAN's programming from Sky Angel for anticompetitive purposes." The complaint alleges that C-SPAN "harmed competition in the relevant market by depriving Sky Angel of C-SPAN's highly valued, one-of-a-kind programming, which Sky Angel needs in order effectively to compete ..." The complaint notes that all of Sky Angel's competitors carry C-SPAN.
Jonathan Rubin, of Washington, D.C.-based Rubin PLLC, an antitrust law firm representing Sky Angel, said, "Competitors can act in concert if they have a legitimate reason. But, agreeing to withhold programming in order to stifle a new entrant into the marketplace is not a legitimate reason."
National Cable Satellite Corp.