Time Warner Cable, Viacom Go To Court: Does TWC Need Permission To Let Paying Subscribers View Viacom Content On iPads?
from the battles-of-a-lifetime dept
Now, normally, if someone sets up an additional TV, they don't have to pay the content providers yet again.
But this is the "internet," you see, where content companies think they should get paid every time something touches their content in a different manner. So they were upset and threatened to sue TWC. TWC caved a bit, and pulled some channels, but then put some others on the app. It's tough to keep up, since the app seems to change each day (which must be great for keeping customers happy). Rather than wait and see if the TV companies would sue, however, TWC has taken matters into its own hands and filed for a declaratory judgment that what it's doing is perfectly legal. Viacom quickly filed the complaint it had ready to go against TWC in response (both are embedded below).
TWC is trying to play down any idea that this is a "fight," saying that "this is not a hostile lawsuit," and that "we need an impartial third party to referee the situation and confirm that our interpretation is correct." Of course, they could have hired an arbitrator rather than burdening the federal court system... but... it's just our tax money. And Viacom, for its part, doesn't seem to be acting as if this is just a bit of a legal clarification among friends. Its response is pretty harsh, if highly misleading.
Viacom's argument seems to be based on the established legal theory of "but... but... everyone else is paying us for this sort of thing so TWC must have to pay for it." In the end, it comes down to a contractual dispute over what TWC's deal with Viacom says, but the whole thing is pretty ridiculous. TWC's offering is really limited, and all it's doing is making Viacom's content more valuable to subscribers. Viacom, in typical entertainment industry fashion, seems to think that everyone needs to pay it for making its content more valuable.