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EchoStar sues Viacom

Eye may make Dish carry channels

EchoStar Communications has sued Viacom, owner of the CBS television network, claiming it is trying to force EchoStar’s Dish Network to carry “unrelated” cable channels in order to broadcast CBS.

Viacom’s contract for its television channels to be carried on Dish Network, the second-largest U.S. satellite-TV service, was scheduled to end Wednesday night. The companies have been negotiating terms of a new contract.

EchoStar’s suit filed in U.S. court in San Francisco seeks an order declaring Viacom is violating federal antitrust laws and to stop it “from carrying out its threat to terminate EchoStar’s access to local station signals.”

“This case involves the exercise of market power by the country’s largest broadcast television network to coerce the purchase of unrelated cable television programming by means of an unlawful tying arrangement,” EchoStar said in the suit.

Carl Folta, a spokesman for Viacom, declined to comment.

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