Court rules in favor of new Cablevision recorder

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court ruled that Cablevision Systems Corp may go forward with its plan to introduce a new digital video recorder service that film studios and television networks had said violated their copyrights.

Reversing a lower court ruling, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York said Cablevision’s proposed new service “would not directly infringe plaintiffs’ exclusive rights to reproduce and publicly perform their copyrighted works.”

Cablevision appealed a March 2007 ruling in which it lost a battle to introduce a network-based DVR system, called Remote Storage Digital Video Recorder, or RS-DVR, which would allow subscribers to store TV programs on the cable operator’s computer servers.

By contrast, typical DVRs store programs on individual hard drives that are part of customers’ set-top boxes.

The appeals court, in a written ruling, also said it was sending the case back to the U.S. District Court in New York for further proceedings.

“This is a tremendous victory for consumers, which will allow us to make DVRs available to many more people, faster and less expensively than would otherwise be possible,” Tom Rutledge, Cablevision’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

“We appreciate the Court’s perspective that, from the standpoint of existing copyright law, remote-storage DVRs are the same as the traditional DVRs that are in use today,” he said.

Reporting by Martha Graybow; Editing by Derek Caney