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Cablevision to Try, Try Again

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) came through on its word to fight for its ambitious and controversial Remote Storage-Digital Video Recorder (RS-DVR), filing written arguments Wednesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

As expected, Cablevision reiterated claims that its approach should be protected the same way home-side VHS machines and DVR boxes are under the old Sony Betamax ruling. The court reportedly is expected to hear the appeal the week of Aug. 6. (See Net DVR Still Appealing for Cablevision.)

Cablevision is appealing a decision handed by on March 22 by U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin, who ruled that Cablevision's RS-DVR would violate the copyrights of several plaintiffs, including Disney, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, CNN, and NBC.

In making the ruling, Judge Denny Chin declared that the MSO would breach programmer copyrights because the operator owns, maintains, and provides permissions to the DVR for a monthly fee.

In the wake of that, some analysts have wondered if a strict interpretation of Judge Chin's decision might imperil the legality of all traditional set-tops-based DVRs supplied by MSOs and other service providers. (See Outlawing the DVR? )

This is but one argument Cablevision is raising in its appeal.

In its defense, Cablevision has revealed a raft of technical details behind the RS-DVR, a system designed to make personalized recordings of programs for each subscriber. If 1,000 customers choose to record a specific program, the system is designed to make 1,000 individual copies, and each copy is accessible only to the customer who made the original recording.

In its court filings, Cablevision has identified more than a handful of vendor partners for the RS-DVR project, including BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND), Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Scientific Atlanta , and Arroyo Video Systems, which is now part of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Inside Cablevision's 'RS-DVR' and Cisco Snatches VOD Vendor Arroyo.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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