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Cartoon network versus CSC Holdings

This is a case from the second circuit court in the us about direct
copyright infringement
CSC Holdings is a company that runs the cable provider Cablevision and they
where announcing that they would bring a new type of service to its
customers. It would be a company hosted recording service which would allow
the viewers to record their tv shows and programs, "Remote Storage DVR
This was similar to many other products that all ready existed such as the
Tivo and other digital recording devices. However, there was a major
difference, while all those other products involved a physical recording
device that was placed in the viewers home the service from Cablevision
would not require any recording devices at the viewers home.
Instead the viewers would request, with their remote, that Cablevision
would start recording a certain part of a tv channel. Cablevision would
then store that recording separately on its own server for only that
particular customer and when the viewer wanted to see the recorded material
they would just request it with their remote and cablevision would send the
recording to the viewers TV.
There is of course similarities between this and so called Video On Demand
services where you can watch a program whenever you want and the cable
provider sends it out to you when you request it. The major difference is
that cablevision
The plaintiffs in the case where Cartoon network and numerous other content
providers who argued that this new service would constitute direct
copyright infringement, important to note that they only sued for direct
copyright infringement and not also contributory copyright infringement.
The dispute
The plaintiffs argued that Cablevision infringed their copyright in three
1) The buffer data
2) For creating the playback copies on their servers
3) Transmission of RS-DVR Playback
The appellate court examined these three grounds:
The Buffer Data
The data in the buffer, that was needed for the system to work, only
contained no more than 1.2 seconds of recording and was automatically
The Second Circuit court noted that the Copyright Act requires two
conditions for a work to be "fixed" and hence infringing: the work must be
both "embodied in a copy or phonorecord" and perceivable "for a period of
more than a transitory duration."
The Circuit Court thus held that while the data was embodied in the buffer,
the duration was sufficiently small to be considered transitory.
Therefore this ground did not constitute copyright infringement.
Direct Liability for Creating the Playback Copies Edit
The important question in determining liability for direct copyright
infringement with respect to the copies stored on hard drives in the
Cablevision RS-DVR was who made the copies.
the Circuit Court found that while Cablevision engaged in some volitional
conduct by creating a system which exists only to reproduce conduct, it was
not "sufficiently proximate" to the act of copying to be liable for direct
infringement. The Circuit Court held that the claims brought by Cartoon
Network, et al., were more relevant to claims of contributory infringement,
which was not at issue in the case.
Therefore this ground did not constitute copyright infringement.
Transmission of RS-DVR Playback Edit
The court found that the transmit clause directs us to identify the
potential audience of a given transmission, i.e., the persons "capable if
receiving" it, to determine whether that transmission is made 'to the
public." Because each RS-DVR playback transmission is made to a single
subscriber using a single unique copy produced by that subscriber, we
conclude that such transmissions are not performances "to the public," and
therefore do not infringe any exclusive right of public performance. It
based its decision on the application of undisputed facts.
Therefore this ground did not constitute copyright infringement.