Time Warner Cable And Viacom Battle Over iPad App

Time Warner Cable and Viacom are duking it out over the popular live TV streaming app that the cable company dished out late last month. The two companies each filed lawsuits today with Time Warner Cable asking the court to confirm the right to in-home viewing of channels on any screen while Viacom shot back with a suit for breach of contract and copyright violations.

The Time Warner Cable iPad app has been super popular since launch and simply allows its cable customers to view their already paid for cable channels on their iPads in a way where the iPad acts as a handheld TV. For instance, a customer can enjoy watching TV shows in their bed or keep their eye on a sports game while heading to the kitchen. Customers can only stream the channels while on their home WiFi network. Despite this modest approach, networks are upset and have been sending cease-and-desists to Time Warner Cable.

The networks consider this to be a new means of content delivery that requires re-negotiation of terms—meaning they want more money. Viacom seems to be the most aggressive of all the networks declaring the Time Warner Cable iPad app as "unlicensed distribution of Viacom's programming."

Viacom pretty much expects Time Warner Cable to pay them extra for the rights to stream their content to tablets and expects the cable company to eat the additional cost. Their issued statement with the lawsuit reads, "With $5.2 billion in cash from operations last year, Time Warner Cable can certainly afford to provide our programming through this new broadband service without passing along any additional cost to its customers."

The Time Warner Cable app is said to have been downloaded more than 360,000 times. If you've tried the app, what do you think about this whole deal? Should Viacom have the right to charge Time Warner Cable extra just because you basically have a new TV set (in this case an iPad) in your house? We'd love to hear arguments for both sides.

[via NY Times]