Viacom and Time Warner Cable duel over iPad

Apr 08, 2011
This illustration photo shows an iPad 2 tablet computer. US media colossus Viacom and cable television titan Time Warner Cable have taken their fight over a show-streaming iPad application to court.

US media colossus Viacom and cable television titan Time Warner Cable have taken their fight over a show-streaming iPad application to court.

The battle centers on whether an existing contract between the companies allows Time Warner to stream Viacom content to hot new entertainment screens -- tablet computers.

Viacom contends that Time Warner should pay more for the privilege, while the second-largest US cable company counters that a deal already in place allows it to let people watch shows using a tailored for iPads.

Time Warner asked a federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday for a declaratory judgment backing its position.

"We have steadfastly maintained that we have the rights to allow our customers to view this programming in their homes, over our cable systems, without artificial limits on the screens they can use to do so, and we are asking the court to confirm our view," Time Warner Cable general counsel Marc Lawrence-Apfelbaum said in a release.

Viacom responded with a lawsuit charging that streaming shows to iPads or other Internet-linked tablet computers was essentially unlicensed distribution of copyrighted material and that the cable company should pay.

is "asking the court to declare their brazen acts lawful" and refuses to discuss the matter, said in a release.

A TWCableTV application for viewing cable shows on iPads has been downloaded more than 360,000 times since it was released on March 15, according to the attorney.

The software makes 43 Time Warner channels viewable on iPads, with access determined by cable customers' subscriptions.

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