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Cablevision wins appeal: remote DVR lawful after all

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 05 Aug 2008 13:39 User comments (2)

Cablevision wins appeal: remote DVR lawful after all Thanks to a new court ruling in favor of the cable company Cablevision, it appears that remote DVR (digital video recorders) are lawful after all.
The US Court of Appeals ruled that the "network DVR" which record the programs remotely to a computer and not to a hard drive on the device itself, do not violate copyright law and are perfectly legal to own and use.

The ruling is a striking victory for the cable company, and a huge blow to the TV broadcasters that sued to have the technology stopped. Cablevision now hopes to go on with their plans to offer network DVR services through their existing set-top cable boxes. No DVR necessary.

When the suit against Cablevision was initially filed, DVRs were only found in 1 in every 14 US homes but times have quickly changed and DVRs are now found in 1 in every 4 homes. Take note the suit was filed not to long ago, in May of 2006.

The plaintiffs in the case are Turner, 20th Century Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC. In March of last year, a lower court sided with the media companies alleging "the technology would be engaging in unauthorized reproductions and transmissions” of copyrighted content. The new decision however, declares that the technology would do no such thing, and “would not directly infringe” and copyrights.

According to a Turner spokesperson, the media companies may look to appeal again, meaning the decision will hit the Supreme Court. “We respectfully disagree and are considering the appropriate next steps in this matter," added the spokesperson.

Network DVRs have the ability to add recording functionality to cable set-top boxes with little more than a firmware upgrade, and Tom Rutledge, Cablevision’s chief operating officer, says the decision could transform the industry.

“We can now provide high-quality DVR capabilities to almost all of our customers in a very short period of time,”
he said. “It changes cable’s competitive posture against satellite; it makes the services less expensive to provide; and it makes it easier to upgrade the services.”

Most current DVRs include an internal hard drive to record TV and skip ads but Cablevision's software would reord the programs to the cable operator's centralized servers, eliminating the need for installation or an HDD.

Craig E. Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, feels the ruling will have a “seismic implications across the media landscape.”

“In short order, effective DVR penetration could now jump to north of 60 percent of cable households (that is, all digital cable subscribers),”
Mr. Moffett noted in a new report. “That means a huge increase in the number of viewing hours per day potentially subject to ad-skipping.”

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2 user comments

15.8.2008 20:25

I offer a hanky to wipe your tears plaintiffs afterwards you can use same to clean the shoe that was just removed from your rear. After that you can can go back to thinking up new ways to cog up our already congested court systems.

26.8.2008 13:40

sounds like someone was desperate to stop time, "ZOMG new tech we must endz it!"

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