Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from controversial television streamer ivi

By Dru Sefton

The Supreme Court has declined to review a 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding an injunction against the streaming television provider ivi, reports Broadcasting & Cable, effectively ending the service.

The Seattle-based ivi launched in September 2010, when it began selling worldwide access to 28 broadcast signals including those of pubcasters WNET in New York City and KCTS in Seattle — without asking for permission or even informing the stations. The controversial firm captured and encrypted TV stations’ signals for distribution through a web app to subscribers who paid $4.99 a month.

WNET and WGBH were among 11 stations that sent ivi cease and desist letters soon after its launch; PBS was also part of a lawsuit against the startup. A U.S. District Court judge in New York granted an injunction to keep ivi from streaming the stations’ content without consent in February 2011, which the appeals court upheld.

The injunction was on the grounds that “programmers were likely to win their challenge on the argument that ivi was not a cable system entitled to a compulsory license, and that those programmers, which included major studios, networks and broadcast groups, would suffer irreparable harm,” Broadcasting & Cable noted.

PBS and other broadcasters are also suing a similar service, Aereo, backed by media mogul Barry Diller.

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