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Cable Operators

Cablevision, Viacom Resolve App Spat

8/22/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

The exact concessions that
settled the Viacom-Cablevision Systems dispute
over the programmer’s permission for
the operator’s iPad app may never be known.

Neither side was talking about their settlement
earlier this month of Viacom’s lawsuit
against Cablevision accusing the MSO
of illegally distributing its TV programming.

But one thing that both sides want known
is that the squabble is over. “Viacom and Cablevision
have agreed to resolve their pending
litigation, and the Viacom programming
will continue to appear on Cablevision’s Optimum
Apps for iPad and other [Internet-protocol]
devices,” the companies said in a joint
statement Aug. 10. “In reaching the settlement
agreement, Cablevision and Viacom were able
to resolve the iPad matter and an unrelated
business matter to their mutual satisfaction.”

They added: “Neither side is conceding its
original legal position or will have further
comment.”

Viacom sued Cablevision in the U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New
York on June 23. That was after the programmer
had sued Time Warner Cable on the
same grounds — over the similar TWCable
TV app — while TWC sued Viacom seeking
a declaratory judgment that the was covered
by current distribution deals.

In June, Viacom and Time Warner Cable
agreed to a “standstill agreement” freezing
their lawsuits, while they try to reach
a business arrangement. At press time,
the Viacom networks remained unavailable
through the TWCable TV app.

Cablevision and Time Warner Cable repeatedly
have asserted that they have the
right to distribute TV services to devices inside
the home through existing contracts
with programmers.

Earlier this month Cablevision introduced
versions of the app optimized for the iPhone
and iPod touch, providing access to more than
300 live TV channels and the MSO’s full VOD
lineup. All of the Optimum Apps for Apple devices
also now can function as remote controls,
to change the channel on subscribers’ set-tops.

According to Cablevision, the apps let an
iPad, iPhone or iPod touch function “as a television,”
and the MSO says the programming is delivered
“securely to our customers in the home
on Cablevision’s own proprietary network.”

According to Viacom’s lawsuit against Cablevision,
when the companies previously
expanded their programming-distribution
deals, “Viacom received additional consideration
from Cablevision for each additional
right granted under the amendments.”

September