NBC Universal, Fox sue RedLasso

Alleges the company illegally copies, distributes content

NEW YORK -- NBC Universal and Fox filed suit Wednesday against RedLasso Inc., saying the video provider copies and distributes the companies' content without authorization.

In the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, NBC Universal, Fox News Channel and Fox Television Stations Group said RedLasso had been engaging in the "wholly unauthorized" copying and distribution of its content. It isn't clear how much in damages the companies are seeking from RedLasso.

Informal talks had been going on between RedLasso and NBC, Fox and other networks since the companies sent a cease and desist order in May. It wasn't immediately clear why the other companies, which included CBS Corp. and Allbritton Communications Co., did not join in the lawsuit.

"Because RedLasso has refused to stop its wholesale infringement, despite multiple requests that it do so, we have been left no choice but to file a lawsuit against the company," NBC Universal and Fox said in a statement released late Wednesday. "NBC Universal and Fox support and promote broad distribution of their content, making it available over the air and on the Internet in numerous legitimate ways while respecting the rights of copyright holders, content creators and third-party content providers. RedLasso must play by the same rules."

RedLasso of King of Prussia, Pa., couldn't be reached for comment late Wednesday. But in a response May 29 to the cease and desist order, RedLasso said its Web site allows bloggers to find and clip "limited duration vignettes on which they wish to comment and play on their blogs." It said the clips were permissable under the First Amendment and that bloggers can't use them in other ways.

"The company also employs sophisticated technology to make inappropriate practices difficult," RedLasso said.