Where Will New Fight Over Time-Shifting Be Waged?
Many of us were disappointed to see XM Satellite Radio settle with EMI Group over its Pioneer Inno device, which allowed users to record and store music delivered over satellite radio. Not because the settlement is a harbinger of the "chilling effect" that many who detest copyright laws think might be in store for innovative technologies.
Rather, when the Inno suit was filed, legal pundits believed that the case could clear up the legality of so-called "time-shifting" devices. Though technologies like Tivo and Inno have been around for years, there's been little case law to establish whether these devices are more like the famed Betamax video tape recording device blessed by the Supreme Court as fair use or the infamous Grokster P2P service damned by the Supreme Court as contributory infringement.
Now the legal community will time-shift its way to a case against Cablevision, accused of allowing its viewers the ability to store TV programs on a centralized network rather than a Tivo-like set-top box. The case is currently under review in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after a district court ruled last year that Cablevision would itself directly infringe copyrights if it launched the remote DVR service.
This might be the best battlefront left for answers.