The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the retransmission consent agreement between Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. and Time Warner Cable, Inc. allows Time Warner to rebroadcast the signals of three television stations owned by Nexstar without any geographic restriction across its entire system. Rejecting Nexstar’s request for an injunction to stop Time Warner from retransmitting certain Nexstar broadcasts to distant markets, the Court of Appeals found that the agreement between the companies likely allows Time Warner to do so. The Court of Appeals thus upheld the District Court’s decision to deny an injunction sought by Nexstar.
Retransmission consent agreements may contain a provision that limits the geographic area within which the cable operator can retransmit the broadcast signal to its subscribers. The District Court denied Nexstar’s request for an injunction because it found that the retransmission consent agreement in effect between the parties contains no such provision. For this reason, the District Court found that the retransmission consent agreement does not prohibit Time Warner from rebroadcasting the signals outside the stations’ local markets, and accordingly found that injunctive relief against such retransmission was not warranted.
The Fifth Circuit agreed, finding that the agreement describes only what Time Warner must transmit, and that it does not limit where Time Warner may retransmit signals. The Court also ruled that there was likely no copyright infringement claim.