Q&A: ivi Inc. Founder & CEO Todd Weaver
Weaver: People assume that you must have an absolute war chest and have a billion dollars to claim that you are not infringing on copyright. It is an expensive process. It’s a legal process, and we have the leading IP [intellectual property] firm out of Seattle representing us -- Black, Lowe & Graham. They [broadcasters] are saying we’re infringing on copyright. We’re saying we’re not, according to US copyright law. We point at the same paragraph they point at. It’s really not a multibillion-dollar effort. It is something that is a known legal plan, and so we are plowing forward.
Light Reading Cable: You’ll continue to operate as the litigation moves forward?
Weaver: Absolutely. Any time you’re facing a lawsuit against the names that we have in the suit right now, that does affect the business as we have to then talk about that whole piece. However besides that added hardship, it is business as usual. We’re going to continue to add markets. We’re continuing to add a large number of subscribers, and the legal proceedings will continue.
Light Reading Cable: Haven’t other companies tried to retransmit live TV signals on the Internet -- there was a company called iCraveTV?
Weaver: It in no way relates to what we’re doing. That the consumer has the ability to watch live TV on the Internet is about where the similarities end. They weren’t paying the broadcasters. They were not conforming to US copyright law.
Light Reading Cable: There’s another site called Filmon.com/TV. Are you familiar with them?
Weaver: What I gather is it’s a me-too service. We did incorporate before they did, and ran beta tests well before they did.
Light Reading Cable: When it comes to the idea of a virtual cable company, couldn’t anyone retransmit TV signals via the Internet, pay a compulsory license fee, and compete with you?
Weaver: We’ll see competition. Even YouTube, with their live streaming, that can become a competitor if they wanted to become an online cable system like us. And Hulu could, and cable and satellite companies could try to create an offering that’s similar.
At the end of the day it’s going to come down to technological hurdles. The ability to have it where it’s easy to tune, change channels, have it be continuous TV with a similar reliability that you get in your living room, is what I think really sets us apart. Next page: Chasing à La Carte