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Two Similar Cases, Two Very Different Rulings

Out in New York, which is Second Circuit territory in terms of the appellate court system, it seems a potential “split” is brewing on the question of whether online redistribution of broadcast television works constitutes copyright infringement.

As John Caher of the New York Law Journal reports:

In a unanimous decision, the court upheld Southern District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald and sustained a preliminary injunction barring ivi Inc. of Seattle from transmitting copyrighted material belonging to media powerhouses such as ABC, CBS, Nike Air More Uptempo NBC, Fox Television and Major League Baseball.

The case in question is WPIX v. ivi, and part of the panel’s reasoning will resonate with many rights-holders, as it zeroes in on the problem with allowing redistribution of copyrighted materials to occur entirely unchecked and unrestrained. As Judge Denny Chin wrote for the unanimous panel:

The public has a compelling interest in protecting copyright owners’ marketable rights to their work and the economic incentive to continue creating television programming…. Inadequate protections for copyright owners can threaten the very store of knowledge to be accessed; encouraging the production of creative work thus ultimately serves the public’s interest in promoting the accessibility of such works.

Interestingly, another Southern District Judge, Alison Nathan, recently denied a preliminary injunction to ABC in a similar case, ABC v. Aereo Inc.

Regardless of how these two cases eventually play out, in the near term it will be very interesting to see what happens with ABC v. Aereo on appeal. While the facts of the two cases are not entirely identical, it appears that the technology at issue and the legal arguments involved are quite similar, suggesting that Judge Nathan’s denial of a preliminary injunction might not sit well with the higher court.http://www.scarpe2016jordan.it/

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