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March 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Time Warner Cable has rejected claims by some cable networks that it has no right to beam their programs to iPads located in subscribers’ homes. In an interview with today’s (Friday) Wall Street Journal, Melinda Witmer, chief programming officer for the cable company, said that Time Warner Cable is “well within our rights” so long as the signals can be received only within the home and not over the “open Internet.” Responding to claims by some channels that their contracts with the cable company limit their use only to television sets that are hooked up to the company’s lines, Witmer said, “We don’t define in our contracts what a viewing device is, because technology has always been evolving. … I don’t know what a TV is anymore. It’s kind of an anachronistic term.”

Richard Greenfield

Meanwhile, BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield noted that none of the cable channels has raised any objection to Slingbox, which not only can send video content to iPads in the home but also to any wi-fi connected device outside the home as well. The U.S. Copyright Office, he observed has stated that the Slingbox “uses the Internet to make existing licensed programming available to individuals for personal use in a controlled fashion and without the need for an additional license.” “This concept of personal use,” Greenfield noted, “fits with the court’s handling of both the landmark Sony Betamax case and the Cablevision Network DVR case.”