Ivi Asks Appeals Court to Reverse Web TV Service Shutdown

Ivi Inc., the online company that streamed television programs to subscribers without the authorization of the broadcasters, argued in an appeals court for a reversal of a ruling that shut its service.

Ivi, based in Seattle, and its founder, Todd Weaver, appealed a February 2011 decision by U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in New York granting CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co.’s ABC a preliminary injunction that stopped Ivi from retransmitting the broadcasts of their programs on the Internet.

Ivi’s lawyer Lawrence Graham told the appeals court in Manhattan today that its broadcasts were similar to those of cable TV systems, so the company should be eligible for a license. Ivi “receives primary signals and passes them over as a secondary transmission,” which defines a cable system, Graham said.

“The Internet is not a cable system,” Robert Garrett, a lawyer for the networks, told the judges. “Anyone with a television set and an Internet connection could become a cable system.”

In the lower-court ruling, Buchwald said the broadcasters had “demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their copyright claim.” The appeals judges are to rule later.

The appeal is WPIX v. Ivi, 11-788, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan). The lower-court case is WPIX v. Ivi Inc., 10-07415, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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