Yesterday, CNN, CBS, NBCU, and other networks joined Fox by filing a friend of the court brief in its battle with TVEyes.
Cord cutters, or anyone who wants to play around with how we share television with each other, take note.
TVEyes is a subscription based service that lets you “monitor” broadcast news. Some people use it to watch themselves on CNN and make themselves look less frosty on TV. Watchdog groups use it. NBCU and CBS use it, too, even. You can search and download, say, all the clips of Wolf Blitzer looking confused, Daily Show-style. Some other features: archive and basic search, edit unlimited clips, play unlimited clips, and free download of clips.
What’s getting the other networks’ riled up is that download part. According to the brief, it goes beyond fair use and is directly competing with the networks chance to monetize its own content. From the brief:
Moreover, it is not necessary for TVEyes to allow its subscribers to download the lengthy, high-resolution clips, distribute them to third parties, or post them publicly on the Internet in order to achieve its purported indexing purpose.
Well, that’s sort of their whole business model, so it is necessary for TVEyes. The brief uses CNN and CNNGo as an example, saying that CNN has no idea how many people are watching clips downloaded through TVEyes, and that the sharing of its clips without analytics is akin to “corporate theft.”
The case for fair use is not very strong in TVEyes’ case. But it brings up the old copyright (or copyleft) argument: is TVEyes really undercutting their profits? Or are the networks, like they did with Aereo, undercutting innovations in how we watch and share TV?