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FCC plays tweeting baseball commentator amid Cablevision's Fox blackout

The Federal Communications Commission may not be wading directly into the television contract dispute between Fox and Cablevision, but it's trying to help baseball fans by playing the role of Vin Scully of Twitterverse.

In four tweets Tuesday evening, the FCC provided updates on the playoff game between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Philles to
3 million Cablevision viewers who've been blacked out of the National League championship series because of the companies' dispute.

"@FCC The FCC Baseball fans disappointed about missing game three? (2-0 SF, top 5th) Cablevision-Fox dispute info at http://FCC.gov/consumer"

And

"@FCC The FCC We’re filling in the baseball void for those without Fox-Cablevision. Matt Cain pitching a beauty. SF up 3-0 http://fcc.gov/consumer"

With more than 365,000 followers, the FCC has one of the biggest Twitter followings among federal agencies.

Earlier in the day, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski sharply criticized Fox and Cablevision for continuing their feud over fees to retransmit Fox programming to Cablevision customers in New York and New Jersey. Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass) has unveiled a draft legislation that would make the FCC a mediator in contract disputes, giving it the job of deciding whether negotiations between broadcasters and cable/satellite providers are being pursued in good faith. The bill would bar broadcasters from pulling their signals during that assessment.

"I am deeply troubled that Cablevision and Fox are spending more time attacking each other through ads and lobbyists than sitting down at the negotiating table," Genachowski said in a statement. "The time for petty gamesmanship is over."

Talks between the two companies ended Tuesday without a resolution. Fox and Cablevision said they would head into a fifth day of negotiations on Wednesday but cautioned that significant disagreements remained. Cablevision has said Fox is demanding $150 million to renew its contract, more than double its previous fees.

Analysts say the dispute could continue into next week with the World Series as the next major flashpoint for the negotiations. Consumers meanwhile have been directed by the FCC and Fox to Cablevision competitors.

By Cecilia Kang  | October 19, 2010; 8:45 PM ET
Categories:  FCC  
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Comments

I thought MLB claimed to have IP rights to the scores. Are the FCC tweets infringing on MLB's copyright?

Posted by: MichaelDSullivan | October 19, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Cablevision viewers can take solace in knowing that it looks like neither Philadelphia nor New York will be in the World Series anyway...

Posted by: Netminder | October 20, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

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