Hollywood studios and television networks lost their bid Monday for the Supreme Court to block the use of a new digital video recorder system that could make it cheaper and easier for viewers to record shows and watch them when they want, without commercials.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hollywood studios and television networks lost their bid Monday for the Supreme Court to block the use of a new digital video recorder system that could make it cheaper and easier for viewers to record shows and watch them when they want, without commercials.
The justices decline to hear arguments on whether Cablevision Systems Corp.’s remote-storage DVR violates copyright laws.
For consumers, the action means that Cablevision and perhaps other cable system operators soon will be able to offer DVR service without need for a box in their homes. The remote storage unit exists on computer servers maintained by a cable provider.
Industry experts say the new technology could put digital recording service in nearly half of all American homes, about twice the current number. That’s what has movie studios, TV networks and cable channels worried. DVRs allow viewers easily to skip past commercials.
The studios and networks contend that the service is more akin to video-on-demand, for which they negotiate licensing fees with cable providers.
The Obama administration, which urged the court not to hear the case, said the ruling by the federal appeals court in New York in favor of Cablevision was correct.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a judge’s ruling that Cablevision, rather than its customers, would be making copies of programs, thereby violating copyright laws.
The Screen Actors Guild, songwriters, music companies, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the NCAA all sided with the networks and studios in asking for high court review.
The case will be argued in the term that begins in October.
The case is Cable News Network v. CSC Holdings Inc., 08-448.