Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Cablevision For Depriving People Of Fox On TV

from the oh-please dept

It seems the whole retransmission fight in NY between Cablevision and Fox gets sillier by the day. After Fox accused Cablevision of pointing people to websites with unauthorized streams of various sporting events, Cablevision announced that it would reimburse anyone who ordered Major League Baseball's internet playoff package to watch the World Series (legally) over the internet. Apparently, that's not enough for some people, who have filed a silly class action lawsuit against Cablevision for not discounting their bills during the Fox fight. They're claiming this was a breach of contract, because it represents a "material change" to the service. I can understand why people are annoyed, but this certainly feels like yet another class action lawsuit which is just about lawyers trying to squeeze money out of a company, rather than any serious public concern. Adding weight to that claim is the fact that they're asking for a whopping $450 million -- saying that the customers are seriously harmed by missing Fox's "distinctive viewpoint in the political speech arena... just days before a critical mid-term election." Oh and, of course, being deprived of The Simpsons, Glee, and football and baseball are seriously damaging to the psyche. Or something like that.
Update: Surprise, surprise. Now it's coming out that the lawyer behind the lawsuit has long term connections with News Corp. going all the way back to when Murdoch first set up the Fox Network.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Whopping... not so much.

    While the figure does seem high, it's not a random number pulled out of the air. They are actually asking for all subscribers to get a free month of service - an award worth roughly $450 million. Additionally, that number could go higher because basically, they're asking for free service for as long as Fox withholds their channels.

    That being said, I think a lawsuit against either side (Fox or Cablevision) is foolish and a waste.

     

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  2.  
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    alex, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    Hahaha. That's a good one. Punish for depriving people of Fox? I think they should be REWARDED for keeping Fox away from the weak minded.

     

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  3.  
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    John S, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Whopping... not so much.

    It works out to $150/subscriber (as an avg bill amount) over 3 million subscribers. Definitely not pulled out of mid-air.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    ???

    Wasn't Fox that demanded Cablevision pay up or live without it?

    If it ever comes out that this lawsuit was instigated by Fox that would not surprise me, maybe Cablevision should get those same people to also sue Fox for breach of contract.

    In the end is all ridiculous but.

     

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  5.  
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    TheStupidOne, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Whopping... not so much.

    It is extremely high ... when you take the fact that FOX is one of perhaps 100 channels included in basic cable you should arrive at perhaps $4.5 million or a 1% discount. Maybe you could ask for as much as 25% because of the disruption to service, but not 100%

    Cablevision should just put an amplified digital receiver in their cable boxes and have it pickup the broadcast channels from the air. If a customer complains that they aren't getting the channel Cablevision should put an antenna up somewhere in or on the house (could they use the cable as an antenna?). That will be cheaper than paying the ridiculous fees that the broadcasters' demand.

     

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  6.  
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    imbrucy (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Whopping... not so much.

    But FOX is not one channel. There are multiple channels that are being dropped. FOX News, FOX Sports (many, many different channels), and FX are all being dropped I believe. It isn't the entire lineup, but there are quite a few channels being dropped. It's especially obnoxious for locals where are the local sports teams are on the local FSN affiliate. (I'm from St. Louis and we are having a similar fight between Dish Network/Mediacom and Fox Sports Midwest that is blacking out all Blues games).

     

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  7.  
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    cc (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re:

    "If it ever comes out that this lawsuit was instigated by Fox that would not surprise me, maybe Cablevision should get those same people to also sue Fox for breach of contract."

    This.

     

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  8.  
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    Frankz (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    As usually, with any multi million dollar class action lawsuit, it's probably not "some people" filing the suit. It's "some lawyers" filing suit, who then get some people to add their name to it, as if it was on their behalf.

     

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  9.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    What is so silly?

    What's so silly about demanding that a company actually deliver the services it's agreed to? And if they refuse to, demanding a partial refund? If they refuse that, it's not like there's competition to turn to. The only options are nothing, lawsuit, or bend over. I certainly don't mind that some people are unwilling to bend over. Yes, I know the parties won't get much out of it and it will be mostly for the lawyers, but maybe other cable providers will take note.

     

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  10.  
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    Shawn (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    Give In

    Don't these people understand that if Cablevision gives into whatever high price Fox demands that their cable bill in turn goes higher? Why sue cablevision for fighting for a fair rate to help their customers? Am I missing something here?

     

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  11.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Give In

    "Am I missing something here?"

    Yes, people are stupid and easily led astray by the great Satan that is lawyer.

    That is all....

     

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  12.  
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    Joe Magly (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Give In

    People have all kinds of principals until they can't do something they really want.

    Though I find it hard to believe that this came up on it's own without some prodding by a party that stands to profit either way.

     

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  13.  
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    DS, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    Re:

    I think they have things backwards.

    I say we all sue for forcing cable companies to pay to rebroadcast FREE OVER THE AIR content.

     

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  14.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re:

    As was pointed out, FOX has more than the free OTA channel, actually quite a bit more.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    it would be about time the big corporations started taking responsibility for there actions.

    if ppl payed for a service that CV or any other company for that matter did not provide then THEY SHOULD BE LIABLE.

     

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  16.  
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    Rekrul, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    I'm not exactly in favor of a lawsuit against Cablevision and I'd take their side over Fox's, however...

    Fox is a major network. It makes up 20% of the Network coverage, not to mention all the various other channels that Fox provides. If Cablevision is now providing a reduced service, they should reduce the bill by an appropriate amount.

    After all, if they were adding a bunch of channels, they'd expect you to pay more, so with a reduction in channels, shouldn't you pay less?

     

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  17.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    Updated..

    Added an update, as it's now been pointed out that the lawyer behind this has long term connections to News Corp./Fox/Rupert Murdoch...

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Updated..

    Color me unsurprised.

    The term "distinctive viewpoint in the political speech arena..." was a dead giveaway.

     

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  19.  
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    Michael Whitetail, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    Re: What is so silly?

    You seem to not understand the situation here.

    Rebroadcast rights are a contractual corcern. Each cable company has a signed contract with each of the channels it carries. These contracts have built-in cost adjustments that allow for the broadcasters to offset tech/marketing/etc costs.

    What these companies like FOX and viacom are doing is extorting cable companies to get much higher retransmit rate hikes than the contract allows for. (Example, the TWC: Viacom fight was TWC agreed to 12% increase, viacom wanted 42%) They extort the cable industry by saying "Give us x percentage more, or we will pull our channels" Then to pressure those companies, FOX and others broadcast propaganda that the cable companies are willfully dropping ther content. When those companies cave in, they pass those costs straight on to the consumer.

    This is extortion, and the FCC/Government is starting to take a good look at the practice. God I hope they stop this shit in it's tracks.

     

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  20.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: What is so silly?

    I'm fully aware of what's happening.

    This is extortion, and the FCC/Government is starting to take a good look at the practice. God I hope they stop this shit in it's tracks.

    In this case, would strong competition in the cable market even solve it? I'm not sure that it would, and if not, what would the FCC be able to do? Setting prices is generally bad. I don't know, I'm just not seeing a solution really.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    This seems like a Tea Party Tactic

    But Fox wouldn't be behind that. They're too classy.

     

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  22.  
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    ron, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re:

    Hey dumb ass, the contract must be up if they are renegotiating the price. So Fox is not in breach of a contract.

     

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  23.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    "...Lawsuit Filed Against Cablevision For Depriving People Of Fox.."

    Depriving people of ALL fox network content is ALWAYS a good thing. SERIOUSLY! Their news is nothing but over-hyped, over-fluffed B.S. While their daily dead-head programming is turning people into brainless, gullible twits.
    };P

     

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  24.  
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    Skippy T. Mut, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 6:31pm

    umm...

    Doesn't Fox broadcast over the air still?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 7:42pm

    Re: umm...

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but how can they sue for the loss of Fox News when it's still on CV?

     

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  26.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:22pm

    Re: umm...

    Yes, they do, and yet...

    Comment by imbrucy, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Comment by Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Comment by Rekrul, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    You're not even the first person who's been told that it's already been mentioned that other stations are involved.

     

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  27.  
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    abc gum, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 5:11am

    Blocking access to News Corp products should be considered a public service.

     

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  28.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Re: What is so silly?

    The solution is to do exactly what Cablevision has done for now. Just stop carrying the stations. That sends a pretty clear signal to Fox and them that what they want is too damn high.
    The Cable co.s should not be punished for standing up against extortion.

     

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  29.  
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    frustratedViewer (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Cablevision should call for Boycott

    Cablevision should call on all cable and dish tv service providers to initiate a nationwide boycott on all Newscorp programming, [specifically ALL FOX stations and programs and MY networks as well].
    Then they should notify all the advertisers that paid millions of dollars to Newscorp to have their commercials aired are not reaching the total potential customer market that they contracted for. Perhaps those advertisers will apply pressure on Newscorp, forcing them to reconsider their current action against cablevision,and the cable/dish provider industry in general.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So what, when that did stop a good old lawsuit?

     

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  31.  
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    P K, Oct 30th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    The Real Issue

    How about cutting to the chase and just getting down to the real problem. Why does the NFL, MLB, and all of the other fat cats get away with charging so much to broadcast their products, thus causing Fox to raise their prices and Cablevision to balk?

    News Flash: Because we're the idiots who fund it!

    If people would ever put their money where their mouths are, they'd stop attending and watching sporting events until these fat cats learn to deal with a smaller pie. The pie is too big. Lower salaries, lower prices...simple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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