Ivi To Pitch D.C. On TV Station Streaming

Ivi TV says it has set up meetings on the Hill and at the FCC next week to talk about its TV station online streaming service.

Broadcasters have sued ivi for copyright infringement, but the company argues it is doing nothing wrong and it is facing the same kind of broadcaster backlash as other former disruptive technologies like cable and satellite.

Ivi just added L.A. stations to its service this week, for which it charges $4.99 a month for the stations and other online video content. It already carries stations in New York and Seattle.

The issue of protecting online content has become increasingly important with the move of more and more video, including TV shows, to the Web.

The broadcaster suit, for both copyright infringement and secondary infringement (essentially liability via subscribers' infringement), followed Ivi TV's launch of its online video pay service Sept. 13 featuring TV station signals from New York and Seattle that the company claims it is within its right to retransmit. Ivi argues that, for purposes of copyright law, it is an online cable provider--it promotes itself as an "online cable system"--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.

"Exactly like both the cable and satellite television industries before it, ivi TV is embroiled in the same battle with broadcasters over bogus copyright claims, all the while ivi TV continues to innovate its way into the hearts and minds of consumers who seek to change the status quo," ivi CEO Todd Weaver said in a statement announcing the addition of L.A. stations to the lineup.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.