Last week, ivi TV, a "web-based cable TV operator" launched with some three-dozen channels on its lineup, roughly a dozen from Seattle, a dozen from New York and the balance coming from a variety of providers. Announcing itself as a "highly disruptive" force, it promised $5 a month service, a 99-cent-a-month DVR and promised more channels and programming options in the near future.
Inevitably, the cease and desist letters--about 10 so far--started rolling in from broadcasters demanding the Seattle-based company shut down their operation.
Rather than roll over, ivi has gone on the offensive, filling a complaint of its own--Declaratory Judgement of Copyright Noninfringement in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Wash.--in what ivi contends is a preemptive move to discourage needless litigation from big media.
In its filing, ivi contends it's operating under a U.S. Copyright Law provision that "expressly authorizes secondary transmissions of copyrighted works embodied in primary transmissions," and that, since it is paying the licensing fees laid out according to the Register of Copyrights, it's in compliance with the law.
"ivi is not another Pirate Bay or Napster trying to gain from others' works," said Todd Weaver, CEO of ivi. "Rather, ivi wishes to work with content owners in helping them to realize new revenue streams and reach more viewers from around the globe."
Weaver said his team has spent more than three years developing a "compelling technological solution that no other company has come close to matching."
He also maintains "ivi enables content owners to protect and monetize their assets while simultaneously giving consumers what they want. We recognize that it is disruptive to existing cable offerings and remain confident that we have adopted a model that is allowed under all applicable laws."
While the company has been broadcasting over the Internet for about a week (check it out at ivi.tv, it's worth the look), with a limited channel lineup, Weaver said he has been working to expand it, expecting to add channels from Los Angeles in about a month, and hoping to sign up premium cable, international, and a la carte channels.
- see this release
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