Time Warner’s iPad streaming rights case will impact TV viewing across mobile

As a growing number of viewers switch on their mobile devices to watch television, especially the iPad, the battle over new rules for new devices is heating up amongst media companies.

Time Warner Cable was in court last week, when Viacom accused it of breaching copyright with its new iPad app, which is the first app by a cable company to stream live television on the tablet, MediaGuardian reported today. A group of media companies want Time Warner to pay them extra to stream this programming, saying that the amount they are paid for television-only should not cover mobile devices.

Time Warner’s app has been downloaded more than 360,000 times since it was launched March 15, according to paidContent. The app is free, according to Time Warner’s website.

Although the court case won’t lead to an order from the judge, it is expected to set an important precedent for viewing television on mobile devices. Time Warner argues it has a right to deliver programming from Viacom and other companies it has deals with, via any device the user chooses. Viacom, as well as Fox Cable and Discovery – which demanded Time Warner remove their networks from the app last week – say rights are platform-specific.

Viacom said when negotiating with distributors, it “has always negotiated rights to distribute our content based on specific technologies and devices to ensure that the unique business issues, such as security, product quality and audience measurement, are properly addressed,” paidContent quoted.

Image: Time Warner

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