New York – A federal court has issued a preliminary
injunction against ivi, a service that streams live TV broadcasts, stating that
the TV networks that sued the company for copyright infringement are suffering
harm and likely to prevail on the merits of their case, reports. Seattle-based
ivi was launched in September 2010, and charges users $5 per month for access
to live Internet simulcasts of signals from 55 TV stations.

After receiving
cease-and-desist letters from the networks soon after its launch, ivi filed a pre-emptive lawsuit
against them — asking the courts to declare its service legal.

The company
argued its service is akin to a cable system under the law, operating legally
so long as it makes payments to the U.S. Copyright Office for compulsory
licenses offered to cable providers.

It has also argued that it need not seek
consent from the networks to retransmit their signals, because the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) has no authority over the Internet.

Days after
ivi filed its pre-emptive suit, the networks filed copyright infringement
claims against the company, and a judge has now ruled that, "ivi’s
architecture bears no resemblance to the cable systems of the 1970s,"
noting the service "retransmits broadcast signals nationwide, rather than
to specific local areas."

For its part, ivi plans to appeal the decision.

"The judge has it wrong," ivi founder and CEO Todd Weaver told Wired.

"She is supposed to rule on copyright. And she is granting a preliminary
injunction in a copyright case to make communications policy, which is
something that the FCC needs to do."



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