ReplayTV Users Sue Hollywood: ‘We Have The Right To Skip Commercials’

Last October, Sonicblue were sued by dozens of Hollywood companies, claiming that the ReplayTV device violated copyright and the ibroadcast contract,i and asking for a stop to its further use or development. On Thursday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and five plaintiffs filed a suit against large entertainment companies, asking a federal court to rule that use of the devices may be considered to be lawful fair use. According to a Reuters article:

The plaintiffs filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the same federal court in Los Angeles that is hearing a complaint from movie and television studios that ReplayTV allows customers to violate their copyrights.

Media executives have said that skipping commercials amounts to stealing, and won a motion, since reversed, that would have required the manufacturer to monitor the viewing habits of its customers.

In a conference call with reporters, users said they were not engaged in piracy.

"Iim just trying to exercise my normal rights in terms of video recording, just like I can with my videocassette recorder," said Craig Newmark, a plaintiff who runs the craigslist.org community Web site.

At the time of the Reuters article going to press, the defendants had no comment. However, a Wired News article later stated that the MPAA called it "nothing more than a publicity stunt."

This suit comes hot on the heels of another victory for ReplayTV users: recently, a controversial decision ordered Sonicblue to collect information on the programs that the users of the ReplayTV device were watching, recording and sharing with friends. That decision has just been overturned.

You can read the Reuters article in full at their Web site. The plaintiffsi complaint to the court and the press release can be viewed at the Electronic Frontier Foundationis Web site.

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