Cablevision Network DVR Ruling Has Web Radio Impact

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The U.S. Copyright Office has extended the time period for comments in a rulemaking about Internet radio royalty fees after a federal appeals court ruling backed Cablevision’s right to deploy a network-based digital video recording system.


The agency, part of the Library of Congress, ruled in July that music publishers could collect royalties for the transmission of sound recordings over the Internet. Comments on that ruling were supposed to be submitted by Aug. 15, with reply comments due by Sept. 2. Royalty payments could have a big impact on free Internet music services such as Pandora or Last.fm


But the ruling in the Cablevision case – which reversed an earlier ruling  by a federal court that was cited by the Copyright Office in its notice of proposed rulemaking on July 16 – prompted commenters to request more time. So the Copyright Office has pushed the comment period back to Aug. 28 and the reply date to Sept. 15. BetaNews reported the Copyright Office's delaying action.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled, in a decision released Aug. 4, that Cablevision’s plans for a headend-based time shifting service did not infringe on copyrights of Cartoon Network, Cable News Network and other programmers that sued when Cablevision announced plans to test the service.


The appeals court, in a 3-0 decision, agreed with Cablevision's argument for the past two years — that the remote-storage or network is nothing more than a conventional DVR device that happens to be located at the cable company's headend, instead of a masked video-on-demand service.


The appeals court likened the service to a video cassette recorder, and stated that a key determination is that in both VCRs and RS-DVRs it is the customer that makes the copy, not the cable system or the manufacturer of the device.

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