4 Film Studios, 3 TV Nets Sue Cablevision

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Sean Mota

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Sep 8, 2003
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4 Film Studios, 3 TV Nets Sue Cablevision

Anthony Crupi


[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]MAY 25, 2006 -

[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]A group of four Hollywood film studios and three broadcast networks have filed a copyright lawsuit looking to block Cablevision's launch of a network DVR service.

In papers filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in New York, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, Disney, CBS, ABC and NBC argued that the proposed nDVR service will violate existing copyright law inasmuch as it would put control of studio and network programming in the hands of Cablevision, which looks to store recorded digital content on its head-end servers rather than in a set-top DVR.

“Cablevision’s proposed service is an unauthorized video-on-demand service that would undermine the VOD, download, mobile device, and other novel and traditional services that plaintiffs and other copyright owners have developed and are actively licensing in the marketplace,” a passage from the lawsuit reads.

The MSO has insisted that nDVR is fundamentally the same as set-top DVR service as far as copyrights are concerned.

In a statement released late yesterday, Cablevision said the lawsuit is “without merit, [and] reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of Cablevision’s remote-storage DVR.” Cablevision also said that the legal action “ignores the enormous benefi t and well-established right of viewers to time-shift television programming.”

A trial of Cablevision’s nDVR is slated for this quarter, with a broader rollout expected to follow later this year. During the company’s first-quarter earnings call earlier this month, Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge told analysts that storage on the head-end servers “will be less expensive than when you buy it in smaller hard drives.”

The lawsuit came as little surprise, as the cable industry has already witnessed a similar dustup in the recent past. In 2004, Time Warner Cable pulled the plug on its own nDVR service, Maestro, after content providers balked about piracy concerns. Time Warner has since transferred some of the core technology that powered Maestro into a VOD application called Startover that allows viewers to go back to the beginning of any live program.

In March, Comcast COO Steve Burke and Time Warner Cable chief financial officer John Martin told investors at an analysts’ conference that their respective companies would probably follow Cablevision’s lead if it were able to launch nDVR successfully.

“If this proves legal, we have the ability to do so on our infrastructure,” Martin said. “I’d say stay tuned on this one.”
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MergaTroy6

MergaTroy6

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Oct 18, 2004
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Network DVR wasn't a god idea in my opinion anyway. There are too many variables. How long will they store an episode before it gets deleted, would they store every show from every network etc. What happens if a network hard drive fails, are the shows are lost?

I'm happy with my own DVR, a whole house option would make it perfect, and probably cost less.
 
hbk409

hbk409

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MergaTroy6 said:
Network DVR wasn't a god idea in my opinion anyway. There are too many variables. How long will they store an episode before it gets deleted, would they store every show from every network etc. What happens if a network hard drive fails, are the shows are lost?

I'm happy with my own DVR, a whole house option would make it perfect, and probably cost less.

The network DVR was supposed to act just like your current DVR you would be able to keep programs as long as you like and it would only record the show you selected for it to record nothing else. What if the drive in you box fails? You would lose all of your recorded content anyway. It would be a good thing so customer that wanted that ability they would not have to go to a walk in center or have a tech come out it would be able to be activated right over the phone. So for instance if you didnt have a dvr stb and were going out and a show you wanted to watch was going to be on you could just call up add it on then record the show.

It would be great if they can get this to work and then give you a web portal to your box so you can schedule remote recordings. :)
 
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