Court rejects appeal on Cablevision network DVR

The Cablevision building on Stewart Avenue, New York, is seen in this undated file photo. REUTERS/File

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it rejected an appeal by film studios and television networks of a ruling allowing a new digital video recorder service by New York cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp.

The justices refused to review a ruling by a U.S. Court of Appeals in New York that Cablevision’s proposed new service would not directly infringe the copyrights of the media companies that produce movies and television programs.

Cablevision announced in 2006 plans to offer 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 and then play them back at will.

With a standard DVR, shows are recorded and stored on a hard drive in the set-top box, allowing users to play back programing and fast-forward past ads. The new service would let Cablevision save money on capital spending for DVR boxes and on installation costs.

A number of film studios and major television networks, including Time Warner Inc, News Corp, CBS Corp and Walt Disney Co, sued in seeking to block the new service for violating copyright laws. They won before a federal judge, but lost before the appeals court.

Other cable companies including Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc have said they would launch similar systems over time if Cablevision’s is upheld as legal.

The U.S. Justice Department late last month said the appeals court reasonably and narrowly resolved the issues presented by the case and it urged the high court to deny the appeal.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal by the media companies without any comment.

Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Derek Caney