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Ivi Blows Into Windy City

Ivi TV, the TV station streaming site that has been sued by broadcasters for copyright infringement, has launched stations from a fourth market: Chicago.

According to the company, the addition of a dozen Chicago stations in addition to stations in Seattle, L.A. and New York makes 65 TV stations it is currently streaming, now in all of the top three markets.

Ivi argues that, for purposes of copyright law, it is an online cable provider that is allowed to retransmit the signals, but that it does not fall under the definition of a cable system when it comes to the requirement of negotiating retransmission consent from individual stations.

The FCC has yet to make a definitive call on the status of online streaming services, but it is widely expected to be contemplating imposing some form of online access conditions on the Comcast/NBCU deal.

Broadcasters cried foul and sued in federal district court. Broadcasters argue the company is guilty of copyright infringement as well as secondary liability for the infringing of its subs.

Next market up for streaming, says ivi, is Philly, which it points out is the home base of Comcast. Ivi has been petitioning the FCC to condition the Comcast deal on nondiscriminatory access to programming.

"If the merger is approved, the FCC must include enforceable measures to prevent Comcast from monopolizing the content marketplace, limiting access to content for its on-line competitors," said ivi CEO Todd Weaver in announcing the new market.