So, you’re a broadcast network. You pump millions of dollars of entertainment out over the air and across approved websites in a relentless, ongoing campaign to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as humanly possible. The advertising they sell depends on this.
Any sort of attempt to put that content in front of eyeballs, especially a method that can better measure how many eyeballs catch those valuable ad breaks, is a welcome thing, right?
Ha! Foolish mortal! This is the television industry! Up is down, right is wrong, we have always been at war with Eastasia, and above all, anybody taking that signal you pump out for nothing and rebroadcasting it must die.
So it is with BarryDriller.com.
The network filed a lawsuit against the upstart service Friday in Los Angeles, claiming BarryDriller.com violates its right of public performance by streaming the signal of L.A. affiliate KTTV to BarryDriller.com subscribers without authorization. The site, which just launched this week, streams New York channel programming, as well as that of KTTV-DT, to subscribers for $5.95 a month.
If this sounds familiar, it should. A bunch of networks are suing a very similar service called Aereo, where you control an over-the-air antenna remotely over the Internet and watch broadcast TV.
This is largely an attrition game. The big problem the networks have is demonstrating the difference between somebody buying an HDTV and an antenna for $20 and somebody paying Aereo or BarryDriller six bucks a month to do the same thing except over the Internet. Mostly they’re hoping to drive these companies out of business before they get a negative ruling.
Or, you know, they could just embrace the free extended reach of their networks. But if they do that, Eastasia wins.
image via Alan Stanton on Flickr
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