Networks and MLB sue ivi TV


No surprise here. Internet start-up ivi TV tried to keep the ball in its Seattle home court by suing for a declaratory ruling that it isn’t violating copyright law by streaming more than two dozen broadcast TV stations. It hasn’t gotten one and now the copyright holders have filed their own lawsuit in a New York federal court.

ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and Major League Baseball are among the plaintiffs who have sued to stop ivi TV from distributing their copyright content without authorization.

“This is a predictable move by big media to try and stifle innovation and technology. We pay broadcasters in accordance with the law, just like cable. This is not about copyright, this is about competition. In an initial knee-jerk reaction, broadcasters fought against cable companies, then joined them. Broadcasters then fought against satellite companies, then joined them. Today, it is our turn. ivi TV pays broadcasters and we increase their viewership. Broadcasters charge more in advertising in return due to the increase in viewers. It is unfortunate that big media chooses to fight innovation that is legal, pays them, and increases their revenue. History keeps repeating itself, however. This is EchoStar (satellite), Slingbox and a litany of other innovations the industry tried, but failed, to sue away. The smart move would be for broadcasters to take a cue from the music industry and innovate rather than litigate, as cable TV goes the way of the landline telephone business,” said a statement from ivi TV CEO Todd Weaver.

The National Association of Broadcasters had previously denounced ivi TV’s business as “blatantly illegal.”