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E. Stratford Smith, a retired Penn State communications professor who played a major role in the birth of cable television, died on Christmas at age 95. Smith, of State College, was perhaps best known for his role in the Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists Television Supreme Court case. Decided in 1968, the case protected the fledgling cable television industry from having to pay potentially crippling fees to the major networks for bringing their broadcasts to households that otherwise wouldn’t have received them.

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