In a March 22, 2007 decision, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York enjoined rollout of Cablevision's Remote-Storage DVR (RS-DVR) on copyright infringement grounds. The RS-DVR would allow customers to record programs on hard drives located at Cablevision facilities and play them back later at their homes. Cablevision did not obtain additional licenses from the copyright owners for this service. Numerous copyright holders sued on a direct infringement theory to enjoin Cablevision from rolling out the RS-DVR service without obtaining additional licenses. Cablevision counterclaimed for a declaration of non-infringement.
Cablevision argued that it could not be liable for copyright infringement because the RS-DVR service—like VCRs and traditional DVRs—merely provided machinery that Cablevision's customers could use to copy and perform the works at issue. In finding for the plaintiffs, the court rejected these arguments, instead analogizing the RS-DVR system to Video on Demand services, for which cable providers must obtain additional licenses. In particular, the court found that the RS-DVR service would involve a continuing relationship between Cablevision and its customers and that Cablevision would be actively involved in both the copying and performing of the copyrighted works.
Cablevision has appealed the decision.