Cablevision Sued Over 'Network' DVR

A group of movie and TV studios are going to court to block Cablevision's plans to launch a new "network" digital video recording service.

Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, and CBS filed suit in Federal Court in Manhattan, charging that the DVR plan violates copyright laws.

In June, Cablevision plans tho launch the service, which would provide subscribers all the functions of a TiVo or other DVR device, but store all the video on massive storage drives at a cable system's headend.

Cablevision has long seen the scheme as a more efficient and cheaper way of offering DVR service. The DVR set-tops that cable operators lease out are expensive, and their hard drives start failing after a few years.

The studios contend that the scheme is a type of video on demand service and Cablevision needs to specifically license movies, TV shows and networks. The suit asks the court to declare that the service represents "unauthorized reproduction and retransmission" of their copyrighted works and block the service.

Cablevision countered in a statement that the suit "reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of Cablevision's remote-storage DVR", contending in part that because consumers control all the functions, that it's legally no diffferent than a set-top DVR.

"Cablevision's remote-storage DVR will allow many more consumers to enjoy these benefits at a lower cost, and we hope and expect that the court will allow our customer-friendly technological approach to move forward."