Federal Court Says No To Internet Retransmission; Section 111 Compulsory License Does Not Permit Internet Broadcasting Without Compliance With Federal Regulations

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A federal district court today granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the mere retransmission of broadcast television programs over the Internet, without more. The order is not only important for its confirmation of a 2008 Copyright Office decision rejecting Internet retransmission of video programming under Section 111 of the Copyright Act, it also reaffirms the “quid pro quo” of compulsory licensing – that one cannot merely retransmit programs over the Internet (or any other medium, for that matter) without acquiescing to federal regulation. See WPIX, Inc. et al v. ivi, Inc., Case No. 1:10-cv-07415-NRB (S.D.N.Y., Feb. 22, 2011).

The order stems from a preliminary injunction sought by national broadcasting networks and local stations, Major League Baseball and several motion picture studios against a single defendant, ivi, Inc. ivi’s business consisted of capturing over-the-air broadcast programming in several major markets and retransmitting it over the Internet to ivi subscribers across the country.

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