Friday, January 21, 2011

ivi TV could be "off the air" soon

Yesterday, a Federal judge in Seattle dismissed a suit filed by ivi TV, the company that sent programming from broadcast stations in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and other markets over the Internet without permission. The court ruled that ivi improperly filed the case in Seattle to avoid being sued by broadcasters and networks in New York.

FilmOn, which followed ivi into the U.S. market, was enjoined from retransmitting most U.S. broadcast networks last year. The Seattle lawsuit was the only thing preventing the broadcast stations and networks from demanding the same relief from ivi. Now that the way is clear for a trial in New York, ivi could be enjoined from broadcasting most of its stations and networks in as little as a week.

Ivi can still argue that the U.S. Copyright Office gives it the right to retransmit broadcast signals, but most of its subscribers will drop the service while the arguments go on. It's unlikely that ivi has the financial resources to fight a drawn-out court battle, so the Seattle court's decision is likely to be the beginning of the end for ivi.
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