Sling swings $46.6M in VC; Is it legal?

Is it IPTV? Well, whatever the Slingbox is, Liberty Group, EchoStar and Goldman Sachs have put their seal of approval on it in the form of $46.6 million in venture capital. For the uninitiated, Sling Media has a product called the Slingbox that transmits cable and satellite TV programming from a subscriber's home through the Internet, making it available to the subscriber on a laptop, mobile phone or other portable device while they are away from the living room. Now that Sling has a multimillion-dollar spotlight, analysts are beginning to question its legality.

Since Sling doesn't own the rights to any of the content it slings, is it legal? Because the technology maintains the one-to-one relationship between the subscriber and the TV set (only one person can control the TV whether by laptop on the other side of the world or from the couch), the Slingbox is, in effect, a long-distance remote control. So Sling seems safe, but other forms of place-shifting may equate to stealing TV services by franchise, and that could lead to some interesting lawsuits.

For more on Sling Media and the Slingbox:
- check out this press release on the VC round
- read this blog entry from Mobility Loop on the legality issue