Judge Pulls Plug On Certain Ivi.tv Stations

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, a website offering cable-like streaming TV programming at affordable monthly rates, was ordered by a federal judge Tuesday to stop redistributing over-the-air TV broadcasts without permission while the courts determine the service providers' claimed right to do so.

The Seattle-based Internet video distributor has aggressively fought broadcasters' attempts to shut it down, claiming the right to do so as an online cable provider under collective copyright law.

The lawsuit to stop Ivi.tv was originally filed by NBC, ABC, CBS, Major League Baseball and several other TV groups.

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the networks, writing that the broadcasters had demonstrated irreparable harm and that the public would not be disserved by an injunction. She also said it was "extraordinarily unlikely" that Ivi would ultimately be deemed a cable system.

Service from Ivi.tv was launched in Seattle, New York and Los Angeles, and is planned to soon expand into Philadelphia and Chicago.

The service was redistributing signals from ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW and PBS affiliates as part of its package. Subscribers are charged $5 a month, and smartphone apps are available to stream the content to compatible mobile devices.

Commenting on the ruling, Todd Weaver, Ivi.tv CEO, said: "This fight is for the people and their right to choice and control over their own entertainment -- and it will continue. The oppressive big media networks must open their doors to innovators or they will inevitably fall. People want responsible choice, not the one-size-fits-all television offerings imposed by powerful media interests."

He continued: "Ivi will appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, will explore congressional and administrative solutions, and will continue to advance the public's interest in a balanced reading of the copyright law."


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