ivi's fate in the hands of the court

ivi TV is getting its day in court--whether it wants it or not. A hearing in the redundantly named U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will determine whether not to issue a preliminary injunction to stop ivi, which claims it's a cable system, from carrying local TV signals. The case was brought by broadcasters who have taken umbrage with ivi's practice of offering about 60 of their owned-and-operated stations as part of a 70-channel $4.99 a month package.

Of course the case goes deeper than whether ivi is a cable system. It claims it is and doesn't need to pay anything but compulsory license fees; broadcasters, getting fat or at least staying afloat with retransmission fees, disagree. The bigger issue is whether the ivi model is viable for other potential entrants. In that regard, the little start-up has garnered the support of some big public interest groups--Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Media Access Project and Open Technology Initiative--who filed an amicus brief.

"A preliminary injunction against ivi would not only deprive customers and the competitive landscape of a new entrant, it also would chill other potential start-ups and their investors from entering the market," the groups said in a joint statement.

For more:
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