RS-DVR Slides Past Its First Obstacle and Gets the Pass For Full Implementation

June 16, 2012

Digital video recording has become an indispensable household item. The advent of the remote storage digital video recorder (RS-DVR) allows consumers to expand digital recording capability without the need for a stand-alone DVR box. This new technology raises interesting legal questions regarding copyright infringement including: liability resulting from the need for buffer copies in digital technology, liability when a computer system produces the copy, and whether playing back an RS-DVR recorded program constitutes a public performance. This Recent Development discusses the response to some of these copyright liability questions made by the Second Circuit in Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., which primarily held that a cable company cannot be held liable for operating an RS-DVR through which customers request shows to be recorded. This analysis supports the holding by the court based on the needs of digital technology but concludes that the reasoning will likely serve as weak precedent in future related cases.