Cablevision, Viacom Resolve iPad App Spat


Cablevision Systems and Viacom announced Wednesday that they have settled their litigation over the cable operator's apps providing live TV and VOD to subscribers in their homes.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In a joint statement, the companies said: "Viacom and Cablevision have agreed to resolve their pending litigation, and the Viacom programming will continue to appear on Cablevision's Optimum Apps for iPad and other IP devices. In reaching the settlement agreement, Cablevision and Viacom were able to resolve the iPad matter and an unrelated business matter to their mutual satisfaction. Neither side is conceding its original legal position or will have further comment."

Viacom sued Cablevision in June in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charging the cable operator with distributing its programming without permission through its iPad app.

Cablevision's Optimum for iPad app

Cablevision repeatedly has said it has the right to distribute TV services to remote devices through its existing contracts with programmers. On Tuesday, the MSO introduced versions of the app optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch, providing access to more than 300 live TV channels and the MSO's full VOD lineup.

According to Cablevision, the apps let an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch function "as a television," and the MSO says the programming is delivered "securely to our customers in the home on Cablevision's own proprietary network." Subscribers don't need to subscribe to Optimum Online; Cablevision will provide a special limited-function cable modem for video-only customers to be able to access the apps.

Viacom previously asserted that the distribution of its programming through the iPad app was not covered under existing agreements.

In the lawsuit against Cablevision, Viacom was seeking $2 million per trademark violation plus additional unspecified monetary damages and to permanently enjoin the cable operator from distributing its programming via the iPad app "and any other new and/or emerging media technology platforms not expressly covered by the agreements."

According to the lawsuit, when the companies have previously expanded their programming-distribution deals, "Viacom received additional consideration from Cablevision for each additional right granted under the amendments."

In a similar dispute, Viacom sued Time Warner Cable for breach of contract and copyright violation, while the MSO sued the media company seeking a declaratory judgment that the TWCable TV app was covered by current distribution deals.

In June, Viacom and Time Warner Cable agreed to a "standstill agreement" freezing their lawsuits, while they try to reach a business arrangement. The Viacom networks remain unavailable through the TWCable TV app.