Internet Broadcast TV Delivery Business Sparks Comments

Broadcast signals may be free to receive off-air and enjoy at home or your business, but don't try to stream them over the Internet.

This week NAB issued a Statement on Recent Legal Action Involving ivi Inc. regarding a new Internet company, ivi TV.

The company had filed a "Declaratory Judgment of Copyright Noninfringement in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Wash." in what ivi TV says is a "a preemptive move to discourage needless litigation from big media."

ivi TV began operations last week, offering delivery of network broadcast TV signals and sporting events to a subscriber's PCs for a monthly fee. The company contends that it is operating legally.

The NAB has a different view.

"It is blatantly illegal to steal broadcasters' copyrighted works and signals," said Dennis Wharton, the NAB's executive vice president. "We strongly support broadcasters and their program suppliers in their efforts to combat copyright abuse and signal piracy."

The NAB noted that in 2000, an Internet distribution service ( was enjoined by a federal court for copyright infringement after legal actions were taken by broadcasters, Hollywood movie studios and professional sports organizations.

Shortly after the NAB statement was issued, ivi TV's CEO Todd Weaver issued his own statement:

"We understand the NAB's point of view and welcome this opportunity to enlighten them. ivi TV (ivi, Inc.,) filed a lawsuit, because we were wrongly accused of copyright infringement, an accusation disruptive to our business. We needed resolution of these issues right away. We believe the copyright claims are unsubstantiated and are really just camouflage for trying to stifle innovation and competition."

He added that his company pays broadcasters "in accordance with the law, just like cable."

"This is not about copyright, this is about competition," 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."

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.