Broadcasters sue Ivi for copyright infringement

LOS ANGELES Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:09pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - News Corp's Fox, Walt Disney Co's ABC, CBS and several other broadcasters on Tuesday sued tiny upstart online subscription service Ivi for offering TV shows on the Internet without permission.

Other broadcasters involved in the suit filed in a New York federal court include General Electric Co's NBC and the Public Broadcasting Service.

The networks' suit follows a pre-emptive strike by Ivi, which brought a lawsuit against broadcasters on Sept 20 -- one week after opening for business -- that sought a ruling it was not infringing copyrights.

Ivi, which received letters from various broadcasters, claims the U.S. Copyright Act authorizes secondary transmissions of copyrighted works embodied in primary transmissions and so its application that gives viewers access to more than 20 channels for just $4.99 a month is not infringing.

"This is a predictable move by big media to try and stifle innovation and technology," said a spokesman for Ivi. "This is not about copyright, this is about competition," he said.

The case is WPIX Inc v. Ivi Inc, 10-7415, Southern District of New York.

(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)