Viacom to Cablevision: iPad app goes too far

Viacom doesn't want Cablevision streaming video to the iPad either. Last week, the video giant went after Time Warner Cable and also issued a statement warning Cablevision to take down its content from the app.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

Cablevision is the next cable operator on Viacom's hit-list as the company tries to stop cable companies from offering apps that stream its content on iPads.

Last week, Viacom notified Cablevision that its iPad app, which delivers live TV and video-on-demand to its subscribers on their iPads while they're inside their homes, is not authorized. This is just the latest move from Viacom in a battle to maintain control of its content on mobile devices. Last week, the company became involved in two lawsuits with Time Warner Cable over the cable operator's iPad app.

Josh P. Miller/CNET

On Thursday, Time Warner Cable filed a lawsuit against Viacom in federal court asserting that its own iPad app that delivers live TV streaming is covered under existing distribution agreements. Viacom responded with its own lawsuit accusing Time Warner of violating copyright and not living up to its content distribution agreement.

Viacom has not yet sent a cease-and-desist letter to Cablevision, according to the Multichannel News. But the company issued a statement Friday warning Cablevision that it must honor its distribution agreements.

"Cablevision has seized distribution rights that Viacom has not granted. Viacom grants rights to distribute our content based on specific technologies and devices. We have extensive relationships with dozens of distribution companies who deal with us fairly and deliver outstanding consumer experiences on a variety of platforms. These relationships are based on fair licensing agreements that provide appropriate value for everyone involved. We will take the steps necessary to ensure that Cablevision respects our rights."

Cablevision has said that it is well within its rights to offer the streaming content to iPads. In its own statement the company argues that the iPad is just like a TV.

"Cablevision's agreements with programmers allow us to deliver cable television service to our customers, regardless of how many or what kinds of televisions they have in the home. Programmers are paid based on how many homes we securely connect to their content, not how many televisions display it, so they have never questioned whether a customer has a single TV or a dozen 50-inch flat panels in the home -- it's all cable television. Optimum App for iPad simply turns the iPad into another television in the home, and one it is worth noting our customers are finding particularly enjoyable and easy to use."

The cable sports network YES Network, which broadcasts New York Yankees games, has also notified Cablevision that the app violates its distribution agreement.