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Fed’l Judge Shuts Down Web TV Rebroadcasts; Exec Fires Back with Claim She Overstepped

Posted Feb 22, 2011 4:26 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Lawyers for an Internet television provider had argued that its $5-per-month rebroadcasts of major network and cable programs to a wider coverage area weren't prohibited by copyright law or Federal Communications Commission regulations.

But a federal judge in New York found that reasoning less than persuasive today and issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting ivi TV from continuing to blast programs from 55 stations elsewhere without making required payments. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald rejected as well the company's additional argument that it should be allowed to go on doing so as the case progressed, reports the Los Angeles Times' Technology blog.

Under the company's interpretation of the law, "anyone with a computer, Internet connection, and TV antenna can become a 'cable system' " for the purpose of avoiding higher licensing fees. Yet "it cannot be seriously argued that this is what Congress intended," said Buchwald.

Company chief executive Todd Weaver responded with a written statement saying that Buchwald overstepped her constitutional authority as a judge by "mak[ing] the legal mistake of misinterpreting the copyright law to instead make communications policy."

Additional coverage:

Law & Disorder (Ars Technica): "Internet streams of over-the-air broadcasts illegal, says judge"

Broadcast & Cable: "Judge Enjoins Ivi TV From Streaming Station Signals"

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