Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Broadcasters Sue Redlasso over Copyright Infringement
JULY 25, 2008

You may not know the company called Redlasso Inc. , but if you read blogs that have video posted on them, you’ve seen its handiwork. The nifty service makes it easy for bloggers to find an interview on a TV show like The View or Countdown with Keith Olbermann, make a clip and add it to a commentary.

But the King of Prussia technology company has angered the broadcasters that it’s been mining for that content. You see, Redlasso has no licenses or permission to record and disseminate their copyrighted gabfests.

After a “cease-and-desist” letter sent in mid-May had no effect, the broadcast community has obviously seen enough.

On Wednesday, NBC Universal Inc. and two Fox units of News Corp. sued Redlasso in federal court in New York. Bloomberg News quotes the complaint as saying, “Redlasso is attempting to build a business by stealing the networks’ programming.”

As I’ve been told many times, a copyright or a patent is worth only what you’re willing to spend to defend it. Both NBC’s parent, General Electric Co., and News Corp. have deep pockets to defend their programming.

Tiny Redlasso has what they call a disruptive technology. Its service isn’t available directly to the general public, but obviously you and I can watch these clips on some of the Web’s most popular blogs.

What Redlasso also has is Michael H. Jordan, the former CEO of CBS, who was retained at the end of May to be its liaison to the networks.

As formidable a figure as Jordan is, whatever discussions may have taken place over the last few weeks weren’t fruitful enough to keep the dispute out of court.

So once again, we’ll have another showdown over intellectual property rights. We’ve seen it in music and movies and now talk shows.

A spokesman for Redlasso Thursday said it had no comment on the lawsuit. An NBC Universal spokeswoman did not return a phone call.

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