Viacom: Cablevision Has 'Seized' Rights It Does Not Have With iPad App


Viacom has notified Cablevision Systems that the cable operator's iPad app -- which delivers live TV and video-on-demand inside subscribers homes -- is not authorized, the latest development in the industry's roiling dispute over distribution rights to tablets.

On Thursday, Time Warner Cable filed a lawsuit against Viacom in federal court seeking a ruling that its own iPad app featuring live TV streaming is covered under existing distribution agreements, while Viacom responded with its own suit accusing the MSO of breach of contract and copyright violations. 

In a statement Friday, Viacom said, "Cablevision has seized distribution rights that Viacom has not granted. Viacom grants rights to distribute our content based on specific technologies and devices. We have extensive relationships with dozens of distribution companies who deal with us fairly and deliver outstanding consumer experiences on a variety of platforms. These relationships are based on fair licensing agreements that provide appropriate value for everyone involved. We will take the steps necessary to ensure that Cablevision respects our rights."

Cablevision's Optimum for iPad app

A Viacom spokeswoman said the company has not sent a cease-and-desist letter to Cablevision.

Cablevision did not comment on Viacom's complaint directly.

The cable operator said in a statement, "Cablevision's agreements with programmers allow us to deliver cable television service to our customers, regardless of how many or what kinds of televisions they have in the home. Programmers are paid based on how many homes we securely connect to their content, not how many televisions display it, so they have never questioned whether a customer has a single TV or a dozen 50-inch flat panels in the home -- it's all cable television. Optimum App for iPad simply turns the iPad into another television in the home, and one it is worth noting our customers are finding particularly enjoyable and easy to use."

Earlier in the week, regional sports network YES Network -- which carries exclusive New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets games -- said it notified Cablevision that the app violated their distribution agreement.