updated 02:20 pm EDT, Thu June 23, 2011
Viacom takes Cablevision to court over iPad app
Viacom sued Cablevision in a Manhattan court on Thursday over claims that the Cablevision iPad app was violating its broadcast rights. The Comedy Central owner claimed the tablet app was breaking terms that restricted showing Viacom content only on cable TV. The studio wanted both a ban on the iPad streaming as well as $2 million for every purported breach and other possible damages.
Cablevision hadn't issued a formal response but was expected to contest the lawsuit.
The TV provider has long tried to fend off disputes by Viacom and others by pointing out differences in the nature of its TV network. Comcast, Time Warner, and others depend on converting the cable feed to Internet video and streaming it back to the user. Cablevision's cable TV is transmitted in a way that lets it pipe the video directly to the iPad without conversion, leading the company to claim it was "just another television" as far as rights were concerned.
A lawsuit comes even as Viacom is trying to reach a settlement with Time Warner over similar allegations. Time Warner doesn't have a similar defense but has accused Viacom and other networks of being antiquated and not understanding how the format drove viewership.
Viacom has been one of the most protective TV rights holders in the world and unsuccessfully fought YouTube over assertions that the web streaming site was profiting off of pirated video.