“No-Box” DVR Challenged

On Wednesday, March 29, I wrote about Cablevision’s plan to let subscribers “record” shows to a central server, and then watch them when they want. At the time, I pointed out that some analysts thought that this might lead to lawsuits by the content producers.

Well, the show has dropped. An Associated Press report indicates that Hollywood studios and TV networks have filed suit to halt the service. The studios say that this does not fit the requirements for “fair use” of copyrighted material, and requires a separate license and fees. Cablevision apparently takes the position that customers are allowed to “time-shift” broadcast programming, and where the data is stored is not relevant.

This will be an interesting one to watch, as it could have a major impact on the type of services that cable and IPTV operators will provide in the future. It’s too early to handicap a winner on this one.