In early 2020, our client, a major provider of pay TV services, received a letter from a state’s consumer protection staff advising that they were launching an inquiry related to a programmer’s takedown of its sports channels from our client’s TV packages. The letter alleged that the provider failed to provide subscribers with the proper notice of the channel takedowns, sought business information, and asked to speak directly to the client’s general counsel.
The Cozen O’Connor State AG team stepped in to engage with the state regulators. Over the course of 2020 – through correspondence, calls, and virtual meetings – we not only advanced the legal arguments against the application of the state’s notice requirement in the programmer “takedown” scenario, but also demonstrated the practical difficulties of determining when and how notice would be provided to subscribers. We also demonstrated the ways in which our client uses other means to provide subscribers with the information they need about the status of takedowns, as well as how escalated subscriber complaints about takedowns are addressed.
The regulators appreciated our thoughtful and multi-faceted approach to the issues. They decided to close the inquiry without requiring any monetary payment or injunctive relief. The collaborative discussions between the regulators and the State AG team further led to an ancillary change to a business document, which our client accepted as a beneficial change for all parties. To those clients who tell us: “Once you get an AG letter, expect to write the state a check,” we say that doesn’t have to be the case!