Judge Allows Consumers to Enter ReplayTV Lawsuit

A federal judge in Los Angeles will allow consumers to join a lawsuit between ReplayTV maker SonicBlue and a group of Hollywood studios and television networks.

The lawsuit was brought by the entertainment groups on complaints of copyright infringements because the ReplayTV digital video recorder includes features that allow users to skip commercials and send copies of shows to other users.

The judge will allow a select group of consumers to side with SonicBlue and defend how they use the product in order to resolve questions about whether certain uses, such as transferring recorded content to a laptop or skipping commercials so children won't be exposed to them, are legally permissible.

The ruling was a reversal from a previous order where the judge decided that many of the issues could be resolved without direct consumer input. The judge also rejected a motion from the Hollywood group to have the particular consumers dismissed or silenced through a stay order.