US Court finds remote-storage DVRs don't infringe on fair use

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the protections granted by the landmark Betamax case apply even when a TV recording is stored remotely

The US Second Circuit Appellate court has ruled that a DVR which stores programs on a remote server did not infringe on fair use mandates.

The ability to record television for viewing at a later time, known as 'time-shifting' has long been a legally protected right in the US, thanks to a Supreme Court decision from the so-called 'Betamax' case.

DVRs are protected under this decision, as while the technology has changed the intent remains the same.

But when US company Cablevision announced plans to introduce a DVR with remote storage where content will be kept on hard drives at Cablevision offices, a collection of movie studios and networks sued the company.

The plaintiffs claimed a remote storage DVR was not covered by the Betamax case as Cablevision was making the copy rather than users.

They also claimed that if 1,000 viewers were to use the Cablevision box to record a television episode and play it back at a later date, that would qualify as a public performance, which would not be covered under Fair Use guidelines.

The original court ruled for the plaintiffs, but the appellate court has overturned this ruling, stating that there is no difference in principle wherever the data is stored.

The court also held that users were responsible for recording and playing back data, so Cablevision's service would not classify as a public performance.

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