FCC Discouraged Time Warner Cable From Filing Complaint Against CBS

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) discouraged Time Warner Cable (TWC) from filing a complaint against CBS as the two parties remained at an impasse in their month-long carriage dispute. The FCC's stance was conveyed by a TWC representative in an email Friday.

The CBS-TWC standoff involving retransmission consent payments was settled Monday with CBS-owned stations returning in TWC homes in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and other markets.  

For its part, as the matter was labored along, CBS said in an email that it did not file a complaint against TWC because it felt market forces should prompt a solution.

Programmers and distributors are required by law to negotiate in good faith when it comes to retransmission consent rights.

The TWC representative declined to elaborate on any details regarding the FCC's position about its filing a complaint. Attempts to contact the FCC for comment late Friday were unsuccessful.

There have been few complaints filed alleging that one party is not negotiating in good faith in retransmission disputes. In 2007, the FCC turned aside Mediacom Communications' complaint that Sinclair was not negotiating in good faith. In 2009, Mediacom again filed a complaint against Sinclair, but the two parties settled their dispute and Mediacom effectively dropped its case.



As of March 2011, the FCC had found that a party negotiated in bad faith only once.

As the CBS-TWC matter moved ahead with little hint of progress, Variety reported that FCC acting chief Mignon Clyburn suggested the government might get involved, saying: “The commission of course is actively monitoring the status of this particular dispute and is in fact in touch with both parties … we will continue to urge all parties to stay and resolve in good faith this issue as soon as possible. However, I will affirm to you that I am ready to consider appropriate action if this dispute continues.”

This story has been updated.

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