This morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted a stay of an FCC order that would have made hundreds of thousands of pages of highly confidential unredacted programming distribution and negotiation strategy documents available for inspection by third parties.  The disclosure of these materials would have occurred as part of the FCC’s review of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DIRECTV mergers.  The stay was granted in response to a petition filed by a coalition of broadcast and cable programmers (the “Content Companies”) represented by Covington & Burling.  The stay will remain in effect pending the D.C. Circuit’s consideration of the merits of the Content Companies’ petition for review of the FCC order.  See our previous entry entitled D.C. Circuit Grants Stay in Battle Over Access to Content Companies’ Confidential Information for more information.

In issuing the order, the D.C. Circuit noted that the FCC itself already has access to the confidential documents and therefore can “continue to evaluate the proposed merger during the stay”.

The case is CBS Corporation, et al., v. Federal Communications Commission, No. 14-1242.  The full order can be found here.