Time Warner, Viacom counter-sue over iPad TV

Time Warner Cable and Viacom have counter-sued each other in an escalating battle over whether cable companies have the right to distribute TV shows to devices such as Apple’s iPad.

TWC asked a court for a declaratory judgement regarding Viacom’s demand that the cable company stops delivering its programming on devices such as the iPad.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court said Viacom had threatened legal action against TWC for transmitting Viacom services to TWC cable subscribers who wish to use iPads in their homes as an additional screen to watch their cable service.

It asks the court to declare that TWC is not infringing any copyrights held by Viacom by providing services to its subscribers, including through the TWCable TV iPad App, a “Smart TV” application “and other comparable applications and services.”

Viacom’s suit seeks damages for what it says is TWC’s breach of their licensing and distribution agreements.

“Viacom has made clear that it is willing to discuss extension of similar rights to others – including TWC. What Viacom cannot do, however, is permit one of its contracting partners, TWC, to unilaterally change the terms of its contractual relationship,” it said in the suit.

The legal action follows a March 15th decision by WC to launch an iPad app that allows iPad owners to view channels while they are in the home.

Viacom, News Corporation and Discovery Communications have ordered Time Warner Cable to stop the practice, saying that their current carriage agreements do not permit the cable company to deliver live programming on devices such as the iPad.

Time Warner Cable argues that the network owners are imposing “artificial limits” on the screens it can distribute programming to customers.

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