INTERNET TV BROADCASTER Ivi didn't have to wait long before hearing a response from the US broadcasters' mouthpiece after filing for a judgment to stop lengthy court battles.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), an "advocacy association" for US broadcasters, issued a statement shortly after we reported that the Internet TV upstart issued a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment of Copyright Noninfringement in US District Court in Seattle, Washington. It is hoping that the judgment will help it avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.
In a short statement, the NAB said "It is blatantly illegal to steal broadcasters' copyrighted works and signals. We strongly support broadcasters and their program suppliers in their efforts to combat copyright abuse and signal piracy."
Ivi re-broadcasts television shows from a multitude of US television networks to its subscribers. The service had barely been online for a week before it received cease and desist letters from just about every media company in the US.
Rebutting NAB's statement, Ivi's CEO Todd Weaver said, "We believe the copyright claims are unsubstantiated and are really just camouflage for trying to stifle innovation and competition." He also added that the firm "pays broadcasters in accordance with the law, just like cable [TV operators]".
Referring to the allegation that Ivi in engaging in copyright abuse, Weaver said, "This is not about copyright, this is about competition. Congress created the compulsory licensing scheme for cable systems, to distribute broadcast content to the masses. We intend to increase viewer numbers and would welcome opportunities to work with the Broadcasters."
Weaver restated the fact that broadcasters could actually use Ivi to increase revenue rather than fight it. It's likely that given the industry's opposition to Ivi it won't back down from its current position, no matter how blinkered that might be.
It is a sad state of affairs that 'big media' companies see any organisation, even one that wants to generate cash for them, as a threat. One hopes that expensive legal costs don't result in Ivi missing its day in court, if for nothing else, to test the waters for future entrepreneurs. µ
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