WASHINGTON, February 1, 2011 - A group of non-profit organizations filed a brief in federal district court Tuesday, opposing an injunction that would pull Internet rebroadcaster, ivi TV, off the air pending the resolution of a copyright infringement suit against it.
Public Knowledge, joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Media Access Project, and Open Technology Initiative filed the amicus brief with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of the rebroadcaster. More than two dozen broadcasters, including all four major networks and Major League Baseball, have joined in the suit to stop the startup from rebroadcasting their content online.
Ivi TV, which describes itself as an online cable operator, saw a Federal Court in Seattle reject its request for a declaratory ruling that it was not infringing on broadcasters' copyrights last week. Ivi currently streams broadcast content from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle, as well as a selection of channels from around the world.
The Amicus brief asserts that ivi’s services are in the public interest and will foster greater competition for video distribution. It also claims that ivi fits the Copyright Act's definition of a "cable system," and functions in a manner similar to current cable operators and does not alter the signals, only serving to widen the network’s audience.
The brief also states that if the court grants the injunction, ivi TV’s business would be “effectively destroyed,” whereas denying it would have no measurable impact on the networks.
“Copyright conglomerates cannot be allowed to use bogus copyright claims as a mechanism to stifle competition and innovation in the marketplace," said Todd Weaver, ivi TV's CEO. "Like traditional cable and satellite TV before it, ivi TV's role in history is to revolutionize and be an agent of constructive change giving consumers more choice and control."