Cablevision delays ‘RS-DVR’ rollout pending court resolution

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 8:54am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Cablevision Systems Corp. has agreed to postpone the launch of its ambitious Remote Storage-Digital Video Recorder (RS-DVR) service until a programmer- and studio-led lawsuit against the MSO is resolved.

Cablevision and the programmers/studios have agreed to a schedule that aims for an “expeditious summary judgment” in the case that could by ready for hearing and argument by late October.

The original suit (plaintiffs now include 20th Century Fox, Universal City Studios, Paramount Pictures, Disney Enterprises, ABC, NBC, The Cartoon Network and CNN) alleges that Cablevision’s approach with the RS-DVR would violate copyright laws.

Cablevision has since countered with a lawsuit of its own, claiming its network-based DVR concept should be allowed legal protection under “fair use” rulings stemming from the 1984 Sony Betamax case. Moreover, Cablevision is arguing that the functionality and technology of the RS-DVR are identical to traditional set-top-based DVRs, which have not been scrutinized in the way Cablevision’s yet-to-be-launched network DVR has been so far.

“Defendants (Cablevision and CSC Holdings Inc.) agree not to launch their ‘remote-storage digital-video recorder’ pending resolution by the court of the question of liability in this action,” wrote Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in a scheduling order filed Wednesday, June 7.

The order also noted that Cablevision “will not be asserting a ‘fair use’ defense against claims for direct infringement.”

According to the agreed upon schedule, discovery in the case is expected to be completed by July 31, 2006. Memoranda in support of summary judgment motions are due on Aug. 14, and memoranda in opposition to summary judgment motions are due Sept. 14. Replies are due by Sept. 28.

The case could then be ready for hearing and argument by Oct. 30 or 31, according to the scheduling order.


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