On Monday, six cable programmers challenged the FCC’s “dual carriage” rule before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the FCC’s decision requiring cable operators to carry broadcast TV signals in both digital and analog formats for three years after the digital television (DTV) transition violates the programmers’ First Amendment rights to free speech. The FCC rules at the heart of the programmers’ complaint were adopted last September to ensure that all TV stations subject to the FCC’s “must carry” rules are viewable by all cable subscribers—including those who receive analog-only service—at the end of the DTV transition in February 2009. Charging that they may be forced off cable system lineups as limited channel space on cable systems must be reserved for broadcasters under a dual must carry regime, the litigants, including C-SPAN, Discovery Communications, The Weather Channel, TV One, A&E Television Networks, and Scripps Networks, told the court that the FCC’s decision violates their First Amendment right to “speak” to cable subscribers. The programmers also asserted that the FCC exceeded its statutory authority in adopting the rules. Describing the programmers’ appeal as “yet another attempt by cable interests to block a successful digital television transition,” the National Association of Broadcasters vowed to “aggressively fight the pay-TV programmers attempt to dictate terms and conditions of the DTV transition.”