Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

How Are They So Bad At This?

Ars has the story of the impending lawsuit over Time Warner’s iPad app:

Time Warner Cable is taking the dispute over its live-TV-streaming iPad app to court. The company has filed a request for declaratory judgment, asking the judge to rule that the cable giant has the rights to stream content to any of its subscribers’ devices, whether it’s a TV set or an iPad. Viacom, in turn, also filed its own lawsuit against Time Warner, arguing that the two companies never agreed to such rights.

“[W]e are very confident in our rights to distribute our programmers’ feeds over our cable distribution infrastructure to any digital device within our customer’s home. And some of our programming partners have taken the position that our interpretation is wrong,” Time Warner’s director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon wrote on the company blog.

“To be completely clear: this is not a hostile lawsuit… We’re at an impasse with a handful of network owners, and we need an impartial third party to referee the situation and confirm that our interpretation is correct.”

I don’t think I fully understand how licenses for showing content on an iPad are different from licenses for showing it on a computer or on a TV. I get that networks are squeezing every last penny out of their investments, but this is kind of silly. Instead of stomping on innovation every time it rears its head, why not let Time Warner run their iPad trial ballon for a year? Then Viacom just counts those iPad eyeballs (iBalls?) when negotiating rates next year, and presto! Extra money.

I fail to see what Viacom or anyone else stands to gain by trying to shut this down. Do they not understand you get to make money off of that-thar internet thing? You won’t, if you continually pretend people aren’t watching your content on their internet machines; not if when a company more legitimate than StreamzPalace.eu puts your content on the hottest consumer device in the world, you cry ‘foul’ instead of trying to get a cut; not if your first reaction to “our potential viewer base just shot up by millions” is to trot out the lawyers.

Seriously, Viacom. Is it that you don’t have a digital strategy, or is it that you don’t think this whole “digital” thing is worth strategizing for? Either way, you need nerds. I’m more affordable than whoever’s giving you crap advice.