Is Hollywood Mulling-Over Possible Slingbox Litigation?
Slingbox is an Internet TV streaming device from Sling Media that enables consumers to remotely view their cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) programming from an Internet-enabled computer with a broadband Internet connection. This is commonly referred to as “space shifting”. HBO’s CTO, Bob Zitter, has said that content owners believe Slingbox violates their copyrights. Whether or not Slingbox violates copyrights, content owners perceive it as a competitive threat because: (i) they themselves are interested in monetizing the delivery of their programs via broadband connections; and (ii) Slingbox threatens their retransmission-consent arrangements by enabling out-of-market viewing of network and syndicated content. So, the question is, will Hollywood sue Sling Media for competitive reasons, arguing that the Slingbox, which does not copy or store content and only allows consumers that purchase content to access their content remotely, infringes its IP rights?