@illusionofmore: The Next “Fair Use” Scam: TVEyes v FOX a Huge Deal for Copyright

In July of 2013, Fox sued TVEyes—a B2B, subscription-based, news-monitoring service that records, stores, and indexes 1,400 channels—for copyright infringement of its programs.  TVEyes provides several features for its subscribers, some of which were held to be fair use by the district court while others were not. Most notably, its Content Delivery Features were held to be “necessarily infringing,” and thus the company was enjoined from further offering these services to its customers….

This case is important because, if the evidence presented in the Fox brief is an accurate portrayal of TVEyes, and if the business as it stands were held to be a fair use, that outcome could be devastating to the existence of copyright law itself…..

….TVEyes is appealing on the grounds that the district court erred in not finding its whole business model, including the Content Delivery Features, a fair use of Fox’s copyrighted news broadcasts and that the court “abused its discretion” in enjoining the company from providing those services. Fox is appealing on the grounds that TVEyes is grossly misrepresenting its business model, the character of its customer base, and especially the nature of the Content Delivery Features; and it is seeking to have the entire district court ruling overturned. This case is important because, if the evidence presented in the Fox brief is an accurate portrayal of TVEyes, and if the business as it stands were held to be a fair use, that outcome could be devastating to the existence of copyright law itself…..

In simple terms, TVEyes portrays its service—so stated in its brief—as a “research only” tool akin to Google Books, and their argument relies heavily on this precedent ruling to assert that its entire service—including the Content Delivery Features—makes fair use of Fox’s copyrighted works…..

The evidence presented in the Fox brief, however, offers a very different view of TVEyes—one that cannot be compared to Google Books for one simple reason that Google does not make whole, copyrighted books available to users, while TVEyes apparently does exacly this and quite a bit more.  According to Fox’s testimony, TVEyes provides alternative, infringing access to its subscribers who may a) view 24/7 live streaming of broadcasts; and b) download entire programs in sequential, ten-minute segments.  These video clips are also made available in high-definition without watermarks or copyright statements, and these facts alone are highly suspect since there is no need for either a news-monitoring service or its customers to cover the cost of high-def streaming for “research-only” purposes like those described in the TVEyes brief.

Read the post on David Newhoff’s site, the Illusion of More.

 

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