Bloomberg News

Viacom Sues Cablevision Over Distribution of Shows on IPads

June 23, 2011

(Updates with Cablevision statement in sixth paragraph.)

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Viacom Inc., the owner of Nickelodeon, MTV and other cable networks, sued Cablevision Systems Corp. seeking to halt “unauthorized distribution” of its programming on Apple Inc.’s iPad.

Viacom, in a complaint filed today in federal court in Manhattan, accuses the Bethpage, New York-based cable provider of violating licensing agreements and seeks a court order to stop distribution of its copyrighted entertainment programming via wireless portable devices using an iPad application.

New York-based Viacom also seeks unspecified damages stemming from Cablevision’s April 2 launch of the computer application which allows its users to get live streaming feeds of Viacom programs.

“On April 2, 2011, despite Viacom’s repeated objections, Cablevision launched the iPad to its cable television subscribers, and included 19 of Viacom’s programming channels, in violation of the parties’ agreements and Viacom’s intellectual property rights,” Viacom said in the complaint.

Cablevision said the iPad functions as a television and is thus covered by licensing agreements.

“Cablevision’s very popular Optimum App for iPad, which has been available to our customers for nearly three months, falls within our existing cable television licensing agreements with programmers -- including Viacom,” James Maiella, a spokesman for Cablevision, said an e-mailed statement.

‘Delivered Securely’

“It is cable television service on the iPad, which functions as a television, and is delivered securely to our customers in the home on Cablevision’s own proprietary network,” he said.

Viacom said in the complaint and in a statement that both sides have engaged in discussions to resolve the dispute without success, while Cablevision continues to refuse to remove Viacom’s programming from its iPad services.

“We have taken this action to protect our valuable content,” Kelly McAndrew, a Viacom spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. “We remain open to productive discussions, but we cannot wait indefinitely while our networks are being distributed without permission.”

In April, Viacom and Time Warner Cable Inc. sued each other in federal court in New York over the iPad application and content. In a filing yesterday, Viacom and Time Warner Cable told U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand that they’re attempting to settle the litigation.

The case is Viacom Inc. v. Cablevision Systems Corp., 11-cv-04265, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Glenn Holdcraft

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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