H'w'd gears up for battle with SonicBlue

HOLLYWOOD — AOL Time Warner and its subsids have joined a list of Hollywood heavyweights, including Disney, Viacom and NBC, in seeking a court order that bars the sale of SonicBlue’s ReplayTV 4000 digital video recorder.

Like the lawsuit filed Oct. 30 by its industry counterparts (Daily Variety, Oct. 31), AOL Time Warner’s suit focuses on the capabilities by the new ReplayTV 4000 to enable the emailing of TV programs and the automatic deletion of commercials during playback.

Violates copyrights

According to a complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles, the recorder, made by ReplayTV and parent SonicBlue, “goes far beyond traditional home recording technology in ways that clearly violate plaintiffs’ copyrights,” by allowing users to share copied programs with other ReplayTV 4000 owners through the Internet. ReplayTV maintains a list of recorder owners so that users can easily share programming, court documents said.

The suit also noted that the ReplayTV 4000 can connect to personal computers and contains an “autoskip” features that allows user to edit out commercials.

Additionally, AOL Time Warner and subsid Turner Broadcasting System claimed ReplayTV had breached a 1999 distribution agreement by failing to get approval for the “autoskip” feature and for ads and promotional spots added to programming by ReplayTV.

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