The U.S. Dept. of Justice this week recommended that a Los Angeles judge lift fin-syn-related antitrust consent decrees against the Big Three networks.

Decision makes official a tentative ruling earlier this year by Justice, and paves the way for U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kelleher to decide whether to remove longstanding rules barring web entry into the program production and syndication business.

The consent decree case is running parallel to a case in Chicago federal court involving network challenges to revised Federal Communications Commission financial interest and syndication rules. Before the webs can gain full entry into the program arena, both the consent decrees and the fin-syn rules will have to be eliminated.

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