WPIX, Inc. v. IVI, Inc., --- F.3d ---, 2012 WL 3645304 (2d Cir. 2012)

The plaintiffs owned copyrighted television programs, which the defendant was streaming live over the Internet without the plaintiffs’ permission. The plaintiffs sued for copyright infringement and moved for a preliminary injunction. The district court granted the injunction, and the defendant appealed. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. The major issue at hand was whether defendant, “a service that streams copyrighted television programming live and over the Internet, constitutes a cable system under § 111 of the Copyright Act.”

First, the Second Circuit found that the relevant statutory text did not clearly answer the question. Next, the Second Circuit examined the legislative intent and determined that “Congress did not intend for § 111’s compulsory license to extend to Internet retransmissions.” Additionally, the Second Circuit reviewed decisions of the Copyright Office, and the Copyright Office also found that retransmission over the Internet did not qualify for a § 111 license. As such, the district court did not err in finding that the plaintiffs had a likelihood of success on the merits of their copyright infringement claim. The Second Circuit then affirmed the district court’s determination of the remaining preliminary injunction factors in the plaintiffs’ favor.