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June 1, 2006

And the DVR Battle Rages On...

As you all have probably heard by now, half of the big studios and networks are suing Cablevision for their DVR service, due to copyright issues. The disagreement here relates to how the service that Cablevision offers is defined. By Cablevision's definition, the company is offering a DVR service, with the only difference being that, instead of allowing customers to record shows onto a digital hard drive or a disc, it is stored on secure customer space within Cablevision.

All the companies who file the suit say that this is not DVR but instead video-on-demand because the "recorded" material remains in the hands of the company instead of recorded directly by the consumer. They claim that such movements will cause damage to all the new and innovative services that they are offering, such as mobisodes, iTunes downloads, web streaming, video on-demand, etc.

To me, though, this just seems like displaying insecurity with their own technology. If they are confident that viewers want web streaming or mobisodes or any of these other products, then Cablevision's technology won't be a major factor. True innovation won't be protected by stifling the innovation of others. Of course, I may not be grasping the whole story here, but it seems like yet another prohibitionist move motivated by scared companies who are worried about giving up too much control.


"Time Warner networks CNN and Cartoon Network have sued Cablevision Systems in an attempt to block the cable operator's plans to roll out a network-based digital video recorder service."

Good summary.

Posted by: Siddiq | June 1, 2006 11:05 AM

Ironic, isn't it, Siddiq? And it's not like Time Warner isn't a really forward-thinking company in many ways. After all, the companies you mentioned are, in particular, members of Turner working with us on these very issues of opening corporate barriers. It just shows you the conflicts in the indsutry right now, often more so within giant conglomerates than between them.

According to the piece you linked to, while Cartoon Network and CNN are suing, Time Warner Cable has come out in support of network DVRs.

The lawsuits are just another example of an attempt to delay what is likely inevitable because of viewer demand.

Posted by: Sam Ford | June 1, 2006 11:17 AM

As an update, Cablevision is now putting the release of its DVR service in hold, pending a lawsuit from almost everyone under the sun, as listed above. The court date is scheduled for October, and Cablevision has filed counterclaims that their product is an extension of the VCR and is simply a step to make it less expensive for everyone to enjoy DVR technology. Since the service will not be released this month as expected but will wait until after the decision made at the trial, I guess we'll be putting this discussion on hold for a few months, as both sides line up for battle. At best, I guess the conglomerates piling up against Cablevision's new technology have bought themselves a little time...

Posted by: Sam Ford | June 12, 2006 11:06 PM
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