Tuesday, June 30, 2009

USA: Remote digital video recorders do no violate copyright laws, which could sput their widespread adoption

[law.com] Hollywood studios and television networks lost their bid Monday for the Supreme Court to block the use of a new digital video recorder system that could make it cheaper and easier for viewers to record shows and watch them when they want, without commercials.

The justices declined to hear arguments on whether Cablevision Systems Corp.'s remote-storage DVR violates copyright laws.

For consumers, the action means that Cablevision and perhaps other cable system operators soon will be able to offer DVR service without need for a box in their homes. The remote storage unit exists on computer servers maintained by a cable provider.

Industry experts say the new technology could put digital recording service in nearly half of all American homes, about twice the current number. That's what has movie studios, TV networks and cable channels worried. DVRs allow viewers easily to skip past commercials.

The studios and networks contend that the service is more akin to video-on-demand, for which they negotiate licensing fees with cable providers.

The Obama administration, which urged the court not to hear the case, said the ruling by the federal appeals court in New York in favor of Cablevision was correct.

Justices Won't Block Remote Storage DVR Systems

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