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Viacom and Time Warner Cable agree to temporary cease-fire

Time Warner Cable and Viacom Inc. have put the guns down in their legal fight over the former's plans to stream the latter's content on iPads.

The two companies, which filed suit against each other in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in April, told the court they have entered into a standstill agreement which essentially means they are putting the legal battle on hold while they try to resolve the dispute amicably.

At issue is Time Warner Cable's plan to stream Viacom cable channels including MTV and Comedy Central on Apple's iPad. Viacom, as well as other programmers, has argued that Time Warner Cable doesn't have the rights to offer its channels on platforms other than a cable box. Time Warner Cable has countered that its deals give it the power to offer the channels on multiple platforms.

Though the filing means the court proceedings will be paused, that does not mean an agreement is near. One person close to the situation said the filing was done so the two companies can negotiate without the pressure that can come from court-imposed deadlines for filings and hearings.

Either side can terminate the standstill with five days' notice.

-- Joe Flint

Fight over iPad comes down to philosophical differences

 
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