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Battle Between Cable and Content Is Heating Up

(CN) - Cablevision's decision to drop HGTV and the Food Network after a dispute with Scripps Network Interactive violates subscribers' contractual rights by denying them the programs they've paid to see, according to a class action in New York County Court. It's

an indication of growing trouble - and litigation - from customers angry at rate squabbles between cable companies and content providers.

Named plaintiff Barry Bragger, a longtime subscriber, said that by not broadcasting the popular channels or providing suitable substitutes, the cable company dashed the expectations of customers who paid for the service.

Acknowledging that monetary damages may be hard to quantify, Bragger seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to compel Cablevision to provide programming to replace the missing channels.

A similar class action in Orlando, Fla., filed on New Year's Eve, came as News Corp.'s and Time Warner's squabble over rates threatened to shut Florida Gator fans out of the Sugar Bowl telecast.

Bragger's lead attorney is Roy Jacobs of Manhattan.

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