Ivi TV Sued By ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS And Others – Any Hopes For Fledgling Company?

1 min read

ivi TV LogoAs expected ivi TV is being sued for its re-streaming online TV service. The range of broadcasters and networks involved in the lawsuit suggest this is a fight ivi TV is unlikely to win. And history backs this up as well.

Ivi TV

Ivi TV is a new service from Seattle-based Ivi that launched just a couple of weeks ago. And lawsuits are already flying around all over the place.

The ivi TV app, which can be downloaded here, allows anyone around the world to watch the big U.S. networks (and some smaller channels too) live over the Internet for just $4.99 per month (after the 30-day free trial period ends).

Ivi TV effectively hijacks the live feeds of these broadcasts from cable affiliates in Seattle and New York and rebroadcasts them across the Web directly to people computers.

Although it sounds illegal, and will probably end up being judged to be so, ivi claims it is merely taking advantage of a loophole in the law.

Broadcasters Issue Lawsuit

As soon as ivi TV launched, several U.S. networks and channels issued cease-and-desist letters to the company. In response ivi then launched a pre-emptive lawsuit against the rights holders to try and secure a legal ruling that it isn’t breaking any copyright laws as they stand.

A week later and those same rights holders have issued a lawsuit aimed at taking ivi TV down. In all 14 affected companies have banded together to sue ivi, including those named in the title, MLB, Univision, Telemundo, Cox Media, and others.

The complaint, filed in New York federal court, accuses Ivi and its founder Todd Weaver of copyright infringement. Ivi is sticking to its guns and claiming the service isn’t doing anything illegal.

Legal Positioning

Ivi’s argument is that ivi TV is protected by merely re-transmitting the broadcasts without modifying them in any way. And as long as the company pays the appropriate fees to the U.S. Copyright Office, which can then be paid to the networks, it is doing nothing wrong.

Weaver said:

“Broadcasters fought against cable companies, then joined them. Broadcasters then fought against satellite companies, then joined them. Now it is our turn. History has a habit of repeating itself — and it is unfortunate they cannot learn from that and realize we strongly support broadcasters and their program suppliers, helping them monetize, increase their eyeballs, and ultimately get paid.”

“Ivi is not another Pirate Bay or Napster trying to gain from others’ works. Rather, Ivi wishes to work with content owners in helping them to realize new revenue streams and reach more viewers from around the globe.”

The problem is that history tells us ivi TV won’t last long. iCraveTV was shut down in 2000, and RecordTV followed suit in 2001. Both were offering services similar to ivi TV and both were sure they were protected by the law. They weren’t.


Weaver spent three years developing ivi TV, so he’s either really stupid or super-confident that it’s operating legally. I just cannot see ivi TV coming through this unscathed. Which is a shame because the service could provide a template for the next stage of online TV.

[Via PC World]