May 20, 2008 / 8:51 PM / 11 years ago

NBC, CBS, Fox say Redlasso breaking copyright laws

NEW YORK (Reuters) - NBC, CBS, and Fox charged on Tuesday that Redlasso, a closely-held website operator, has violated copyright laws by streaming video clips of their news, sports and television shows without permission.

In a letter, lawyers for CBS Corp, General Electric’s NBC, News Corp’s Fox and Allbritton Communications Co, a TV station owner, said Redlasso has broken state and federal laws while causing the companies “serious and irreparable harm.”

They demanded Redlasso stop reproducing, distributing or displaying the broadcasts.

Redlasso, in a statement, said it is reviewing the letter and expects to respond shortly.

As interest in online video has boomed, broadcasters are attempting to avoid the music industry’s troubles by closely protecting their content on the Web. Previously, Viacom Inc. filed a $1 billion copyright infringement against Google Inc and its video-share site YouTube.

In turn, broadcasters are making more of their content available through their own advertising-supported sites. News Corp and NBC Universal, for instance, are partners in Hulu, an online video site where clips and full-length movies and TV shows are available.

Redlasso is a site that enables users — often bloggers — to create clips from TV broadcasts and then share them. The service is free, according to its website, which says it splits advertising revenue with producers and owners of the content.

In the letter, the lawyers representing the media companies write, “Redlasso’s unauthorized use in connection with its own services of the content owners’ valuable and famous trademarks, along with various statements made on Redlasso’s web site and at various online industry gatherings, among other places, falsely convey an affiliation between Redlasso and the content owners, when there is none.”

They sought a response from Redlasso by May 29.

In its statement on Tuesday, Redlasso said, “We believe that curtailing distribution through the Redlasso platform only exacerbates a flawed distribution model. We hope to develop mutually beneficially partnerships with the world’s major media companies, including many of those we’ve heard from today.”

Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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