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Broadcasters Squawk About TiVo, Replay

A group of television broadcast and programming companies announced last week their concern that new personal video recorders (PVRs) developed by Replay Networks and TiVo do not fall within the so-called Betamax rule.

The two PVR makers, and now the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA), say the new devices are plainly within the guidelines of the rule and they should not have to pay to license programming as affiliated broadcast stations and cable systems do.

The group of broadcast and programming companies, called the Advanced Television Copyright Coalition, is made up of Time Warner, CBS, Disney, News Corp., and Discovery Communications, which represents networks including ABC, Fox, CNN, TNT and HBO. Of these companies, Time Warner, Disney and Discovery are investors in Replay. CBS, Discovery and Disney are TiVo investors.

CEMA president Gary Shapiro commented, “The Supreme Court’s Betamax case guarantees all Americans the right to record television programs for personal use. It is ironic that some of the very same parties who are complaining about personal video recorders are also investors in companies that manufacture them.”

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