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Viacom and Time Warner trade blows over iPad dispute

Just moments after Time Warner Cable asked a federal judge to declare that the company had the legal rights to stream Viacom-owned cable networks to Apple's iPad for its subscribers, Viacom Inc. asked the same court to declare it is right to not allow its channels to be streamed.

In its filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Viacom asked for an injunction prohibiting Time Warner Cable from trying to stream its channels to Apple's iPad.

The two comanies have been battling for weeks, since Time Warner Cable launched its new iPad streaming service for its cable subscribers. Last week, Time Warner Cable pulled a dozen channels from the service, including Viacom's MTV and Comedy Central.

But Thursday, Time Warner Cable asked the federal court for a declaratory ruling that it was within its contractual rights to stream the Viacom channels.

In a statement, Viacom said Time Warner Cable "blatantly grabbed the rights" to stream its channels without permission.

Viacom suggested this could all go away if Time Warner Cable were willing to pay for the rights to stream its channels.

"With $5.2 billion in cash from operations last year, Time Warner Cable can certainly afford to provide our programming through this new broadband service without passing along any additional costs to its customers," Viacom said.

Viacom has also voiced concerns about a similar iPad app from Cablevision Systems, but as yet has not taken any legal action.

-- Joe Flint


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Time Warner Cable drops channels in iPad dispute

Comments () | Archives (3)

It's really a shame that the networks have to get their feathers ruffled over this. It's not as if customers can watch these shows outside their homes. The application doesn't even work outside of the customer's home, nor on their computer/laptop.

I think that as far as goodwill from customers, networks would do well to abandon their anger and allow TWC to stream their channels. Heck, Comcast apparently that their own On Demand app available to their customers.

I think Viacom should definitely lose this one.

Time-Warner's app basically turns my iPad into a $499 TV set. I don't like the idea that Viacom should get more money based on what kind of TV set I use to watch the content they've already produced.

What's next? "Oh, you just bought a 52-inch TV? We want more money."

Heck, this sounds like the Dems and the GOP... Look past the discussion and see what could be. For example, do you remember the old Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon – multimedia urban legend? Viacom could do something similar. Let’s say the streamed to the iPad channel is Comedy Central and it has a couch full of comedians ripping on Jersey Shore or The Real World that you are watching on your TV. It would be like you were on the couch with them watching the same show.

Think of it along the lines of Disney’s ‘Second screen’ but using broadcast TV channels to do it. Remember, TWC isn’t the only provider with the streaming iPad feature.


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