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H’wood seeks Calif. court for finsyn

Hollywood’s production community Tuesday asked a D.C. court to deny the Big Three networks’ request to have the finsyn case transferred to a Chicago court, and instead suggested the case be moved to a California court.

The request was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which recently was selected as the apparent venue for appeals to new FCC rules setting in motion plans to completely eliminate the finsyn rules.

Two weeks ago, the networks asked the D.C. court to move the case to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, where last year a three-judge panel tossed out as “unreasoned and unreasonable” 1991 FCC finsyn rules that retained Hollywood’s grip on program production and syndication.

Fighting transfer bid

Hollywood’s finsyn coalition asked the D.C. court to nix the webs’ transfer request, however, arguing that “there is a presumption” the case should be decided by the D.C. bench.

If there is a transfer of the case, the coalition claimed it should be moved to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

That’s because revisions to finsyn-related antitrust consent decree proceedings are currently being considered by a Los Angeles court, and the San Francisco court will ultimately settle any appeals to that decision, the coalition argued.

Transfer long sought

Hollywood’s finsyn backers have long sought to have the case transferred to a California court, apparently under the presumption that West Coast judges will be more sympathetic to the plight of program producers.

Joining the Hollywood coalition in its request was the Arizona Consumers Council, which is represented by the liberal D.C. public interest law firm Media Access Project.

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