Cable News Network v. CSC Holdings

Brief For The United States As Amicus Curiae


In March 2006, Cablevision announced its intention to deploy a "remote DVR" to its subscribers. Rather than recording cable programming on hard drives contained inside a "set-top DVR" located in the subscriber's home (which is the typical solution offered by both TiVo and cable-company provided DVRs), Cablevision would allow the subscriber to record the program on hard drives maintained in Cablevision's own central offices. To the subscriber, the remote DVR would work just like the traditional set-top DVR -- the subscriber would choose what to record, when to watch, and when to delete programs.

The motion picture and television industries responded by suing Cablevision for copyright infringement. Although the Supreme Court in its famous "Betamax" decision had ruled that time-shifting by consumers was a noninfringing fair use, the plaintiff argued that Cablevision, not its subscribers, were making the copies. Therefore, argued the plaintiffs, Cablevision was a direct infringer of copyright, not able to rely on the same defenses that Sony used to defend its Betamax VCR before the Supreme Court.

On March 22, 2007, the district court in New York agreed with the plaintiffs and found that Cablevision would itself directly infringe copyrights if it launched the remote DVR service. Cablevision appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. EFF joined a host of other public interest and industry groups in supporting Cablevision in the appeal.

On August 4, 2008, the appellate court sided with Cablevision, EFF and our co-amici, reversing the district court's decision.

This is the Solicitor General's Brief Recommending Against Certiorari.

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Reference Info:Appellate Brief | Federal, U.S. Supreme Court | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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