TV replay lawsuit is threatened

5 big media companies target TiVo, others

August 13, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- Five of the world's largest media companies are threatening to sue TiVo Inc., Replay Networks Inc. and other makers of so-called TV replay devices unless they agree to obtain licenses to use network programming.

Time Warner Inc., Walt Disney Co., News Corp., CBS Corp. and Discovery Communications Inc. said yesterday that they formed a coalition to protect TV copyrights by forcing the device makers to negotiate and acquire program licenses.

The devices, or personal video recorders, let users create a lineup of their favorite shows that can be digitally recorded and then viewed anytime. Viewers also can rewind and fast-forward through programs, skipping commercials.

While the media companies say they support technology that makes TV interactive, they're concerned that the devices could cut audience levels.

"Broadcast and cable/satellite networks are compilations of copyrighted material," the group said.

"Those who build businesses around decompiling, excerpting or modifying them in any way must negotiate for and acquire the appropriate rights." The media group, called the Advanced Television Copyright Coalition, said it hopes to resolve the issue amicably.

Pub Date: 8/13/99

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