What do you do when you are a new start-up company with an idea to transmit free broadcast TV via the Internet? What do you do when the likes of NBC, CBS, Fox, Disney, MLB and others send you cease and desist orders? Well if you are Seattle company named ivi you take the bull by the horns and file a lawsuit in order to get a legal opinion.
So what is the companies opinion on the legality of broadcasting free broadcast TV via the Internet?
What’s interesting, of course, is the legal “theory” behind this. Basically, they point to Section 111 of the Copyright Act, which allows for “secondary transmission” of certain over-the-air broadcasts for a nominal fee to the Copyright Office. The intention behind Section 111 was to let cable providers rebroadcast local network television to cable customers, without having to negotiate with every local TV station. Whether or not that also applies to a company like ivi broadcasting online… is an open question that the court will have to settle.
Whoa! This could be a HUGE decision if a court sides with the Seattle based company. But before we all run onto the Internet to watch our favorite TV episode this could take years to resolve. No matter how a lower court rules, this could go all the way up the chain of courts until it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.
What do you think? Should we be allowed to watch our favorite TV shows on the Internet>