Watch Out For Lawsuits Arising From Programming Blackouts

Law360 (March 18, 2019, 3:46 PM EDT) -- As cable and satellite television distributors and content providers continue to encounter strong headwinds from consumer cord-cutting and a growing number of online streaming services, they are increasingly turning to the so-called nuclear option of “going dark.” Going dark — also commonly referred to as a programming “blackout” — refers to the temporary or prolonged absence of a broadcaster or other programmer’s television networks on a distributor’s platform when the two sides fail to reach agreement on a new programming contract.

To be sure, the conventional wisdom has long been that full-on blackouts are a relative rarity. And this makes sense,...

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