Ivi Appeals Court Order to Shut Down Its Online TV Service

Ivi Inc., the online company that streams television programs to subscribers without the broadcasters’ authorization, appealed a court order to shut down its service.

Ivi and its founder, Todd Weaver, appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, the company said in a filing in the lower court. The Seattle-based company today also asked the trial court to delay putting the order into effect during the appeal.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald on Feb. 22 granted a motion by broadcasters including CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co.’s ABC for a preliminary injunction that would prevent Ivi from retransmitting the broadcasts of their programming on the Internet. Buchwald said the broadcasters showed they probably will win their copyright suit.

“Ivi respectfully disagrees with the court’s order and contends there is a substantial likelihood that it will be reversed on appeal,” Ivi’s lawyer, Lawrence D. Graham, said in court papers. “The Ivi secondary broadcasts are just like those of other cable systems and Ivi should not be excluded from the statutory license.”

Captured Signals

Ivi, which captures the signals of TV stations in New York, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles and retransmits them to subscribers for $4.99 a month, argued that under federal copyright law it qualifies as a cable TV system and should be able to obtain the compulsory license that cable providers have.

Buchwald concluded in her ruling that Ivi “is not a cable system.”

“We think the lower court ruled appropriately here,” Dennis Wharton, the spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, said in a telephone interview. “Companies that steal broadcast programming and put it on the Internet are breaking the law.”

The plaintiffs also include News Corp.’s Fox Television Stations, Cox Media Group, WNET.org, WPIX Inc., Tribune Television Holdings Inc., Univision Television Group, Fisher Broadcasting, Major League Baseball’s MLB Advanced Media and Public Broadcasting Service.

The case is WPIX v. Ivi Inc., 10-07415, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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