Cablevision's Remote DVR Service Gets Appeals Court Victory

This story was written by Joseph Weisenthal.
Cable operator Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) has won a court victory in its bid to offer a hosted DVR-type service. Last year, a district judge ruled that such a service constituted a form of copyright infringement, since it involved Cablevision copying the content. Now a US Appeals Court has reversed that ruling, saying the service called Remote Storage Digital Video Recorder (RS-DVR), is not a problem and that it's functionally the same as providing a physical DVR. The case was also remanded back to the lower court for further action. Though none had yet tried offering similar services, other cable operators had voiced support for Cablevision's position.

Said Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge in a statement: "This is a tremendous victory for consumers, which will allow us to make DVRs available to many more people, faster and less expensively than would otherwise be possible We appreciate the Court's perspective that, from the standpoint of existing copyright law, remote-storage DVRs are the same as the traditional DVRs that are in use today," he said." (via Reuters)

The full decision can be read here. Some key points can be found on pages 25-41. The main gist is that this does not constitute public performance of copyrighted work, since each "copied" TV program can only be seen by the one user that does the copying. And, in that sense, according to the judge, Cablevision is acting like a Kinkos that provides copiers for the public to use, rather than a shadier copyshop making copies of copyrighted textbooks and then selling them to professors.:

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By Joseph Weisenthal