Cablevision can move forward with its plans to
move its digital video recording service into the cloud, thanks to the Supreme
Court's refusal to hear the broadcast industry's appeal of a decision granting summary
judgment in favor of Cablevision. While consumer DVRs have been used for years,
Cablevision sought to launch a service for the remote storage of shows recorded
by consumers. Cablevision's argument in
favor of such service was that, as long as consumers were still in control of
the recording, playback and deletion process, the location of the hard drive on
which the content was stored didn't matter.
Broadcasters disagreed, however, claiming that by archiving and
retransmitting the content, Cablevision was engaging in copyright infringement.
A district judge initially agreed with the broadcasters and, in March 2007,
entered an injunction preventing Cablevision from rolling out its program. Cablevision appealed and in August 2008, the
Second Circuit reversed the district court ruling in a sweeping opinion. The circuit court found that, while
Cablevision employed a 1.2 second storage buffer, that "embodiment"
of the work was only transitory and failed to constitute copyright
infringement. The circuit court also
found that Cablevision did not own the copies on its servers, which were
controlled by the users and therefore fell within the scope of the fair use
doctrine. The Supreme Court's denial of cert brings to an end the litigation. Cablevision announced that it plans on
beginning a roll-out by the end of the summer.