While there's been a lot of talk about whether or not Time Warner has the right to include feeds of cable channels it carries in the new TWCable TV app, besides the company's voluntary removal of several networks there's been very little action until now. Time Warner Cable announced this afternoon it has filed a request in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for a declaratory judgement regarding Viacom's cable networks. Time Warner continues to maintain its carriage agreements give it the right to allow subscribers access on any screen in their home, not just the TV and is apparently ready to prove that in court -- or at least drive Viacom, Discovery, Fox and other complaining networks towards more favorable negotiations. The app added seven more channels earlier today, while we wait for Viacom's side of the story you can check out the press release after the break or Time Warner's official blog to understand its stance in full.
Update: Viacom has responded, saying Time Warner "blatantly grabbed the rights that their competitors have negotiated in good faith to obtain" forcing it to file a lawsuit of its own. The gloves are officially off -- check the full text after the break, or a PDF of Viacom's complaint linked below.
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Time Warner Cable Seeks Declaratory Judgment on Rights for iPad™ Use Within the Home
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) today announced that it has filed a request for declaratory judgment relating to Viacom cable networks. The request asks the court to rule that Time Warner Cable's rights under its carriage agreement allows it to deliver the programming of this company over its cable systems for viewing on devices of its video customers' choosing, including iPads, in their homes. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Marc Lawrence-Apfelbaum, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Time Warner Cable said, "We have steadfastly maintained that we have the rights to allow our customers to view this programming in their homes, over our cable systems, without artificial limits on the screens they can use to do so, and we are asking the court to confirm our view. With over 360,000 downloads of our TWCableTV™ app, it is clear that our customers welcome the convenience and flexibility our new app provides."
The app, which launched to customers on March 15, 2011, currently features 43 channels which are available to customers whose subscriptions include them. For a list of the channels currently available and updates on the app, please visit www.twcableuntangled.com, the company's blog.
About Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., with technologically advanced, well-clustered systems located mainly in five geographic areas - New York State (including New York City), the Carolinas, Ohio, southern California (including Los Angeles) and Texas. Time Warner Cable serves more than 14 million customers who subscribe to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers a suite of phone, Internet, Ethernet and cable television services to businesses of all sizes. Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions that are targeted and affordable. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at www.timewarnercable.com, www.twcbc.com and www.twcmedia.com.
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"Viacom has always negotiated rights to distribute our content based on specific technologies and devices to ensure that the unique business issues, such as security, product quality and audience measurement, are properly addressed. Instead of addressing these issues, Time Warner Cable simply launched the product without a license to distribute our programming through an iPad app. They blatantly grabbed the rights that their competitors have negotiated in good faith to obtain. Time Warner Cable removed our programming from this service only when they were threatened with a lawsuit and, now, it is asking the Court to declare their brazen acts lawful. Regrettably, all of this has compelled us to file a suit of our own – as Time Warner Cable refuses to even discuss the business issues. With $5.2 billion in cash from operations last year, Time Warner Cable can certainly afford to provide our programming through this new broadband service without passing along any additional costs to its customers."