The MPAA's copyright infringement claim against Cablevision, based upon its claim that Cablevision's proposed remote storage digital video recorder system violated the motion picture companies' "performance" rights and "reproduction" rights, in Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings, has been rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The lower court decison of Judge Denny Chin, which ruled in favor of the motion picture companies, was reversed.
On the issue of the "reproduction" right, the Court held that:
(1) the buffered versions were not "copies" within the meaning of the Copyright Act since the 1.2-second period in which they were buffered was insufficient to satisfy the part of the statutory definition of copies which required that they exist for more than a "transitory duration"; and
(2) as to the playback versions, Cablevision could not be directly liable, since it was the customer -- not Cablevision -- that was making the copies; i.e., there was no "volitional" conduct on Cablevision's part.
On the issue of the "public performance" right, the Court found for the defendant on the ground that the transmission was not "to the public". (The Court called into question the 3rd Circuit decision in Ford Motor v. Summit Motor Products which said that a distribution to one person could be "to the public", but did not need to reach the question since this was a "public performance" right, rather than a "distribution" right, case.).
The defeated lawyers for the MPAA include the same lawyers who represent Viacom in Viacom v. YouTube, the same lawyers who represent the RIAA in Arista v. LimeWire, and the appellate lawyer who was flown into Duluth by the RIAA for the Capitol v. Thomas argument.
August 4, 2008, Decision, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
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