Sep 29, 2010

PBS, other broadcasters suing TV programming provider ivi

Several major broadcasters, including PBS, and other content providers filed a lawsuit in New York federal district court against ivi TV on Tuesday (Sept. 28), alleging copyright infringement, reports Broadcasting & Cable. ivi sells an app that allows subscribers to watch programming as broadcast from various stations for $4.99 a month. It says it can do so because it is an online cable provider but does not fall under the definition of a cable system as far as the need to negotiate retransmission consent from individual stations. The signals from WNET/Thirteen in New York City and KCTS in Seattle are being broadcast by ivi, which uses a teaser on its website that says, "Watch the Berenstain Bears on PBS!" An ivi spokesman told Current that it's adding new markets every 45 days, with Los Angeles and Chicago next. WNET and WGBH were signatories in recent cease and desist letters to Ivi.

Knight-sponsored courtroom project considers transparency vs. privacy

WBUR's Order in the Court 2.0, winner of a $250,000 Knight News Challenge grant, is working to set best practices for effective ways to cover courts using digital technology. It's moving ahead to create an area in the Quincy (Mass.) District Court for live blogging and live-streaming of the court's proceedings, along with a website for its daily docket. But all this raises issues of privacy vs. public interest. Project creator John Davidow, also exec director of, writes on MediaShift that he and his team met last week with Judge Andre Gelinas, a retired justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court who is now special adviser to the chief justice for administration and management for information technology. They're tackling big questions: Would photographing alleged victims of domestic violence keep them from coming forward? How should discussions of a defendant's mental illness be handled? Should the project's video be archived? "The meeting made it clear that the work of Order in the Court 2.0 will be a useful resource for other projects that want to provide greater access to our nation's courts," Davidow said.

PBS viewers continue cleavage debate

The Great Sesame Street Katy Perry Cleavage Kerfuffle continues, with Team Perry taking the lead. PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler said that after an initial spate of disapproving letters, "mail to me is running heavily in favor of Katy and her dress." That would be the golden bustier-topped frock that sparked all this in the first place. (Check it out on YouTube, where her perky dance with Elmo is up to 4.3 million views.) One letter to Getler summed up the vibe: "Get a grip, prudes."

And speaking of cleavage, did you see Perry's now-notorious Elmo shirt sketch on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live? That video's up to 2 million hits. Warning: Kinda racy.

Pacific Islanders' "One Voice" takes to the skies

A 15-minute segment of One Voice, the latest doc from Minority Consortia group Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), is soaring high over the Pacific this month on Hawaiian Airlines. It's featured on the airline's "Hawaiian Skies" in-flight programming. The movie tells the story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest through its student directors. Every year, around 2,000 high schoolers compete in the competition, where teen leaders direct groups in Hawaiian four-part harmonies. The movie's local Facebook followers who correctly answer weekly trivia questions on the song contest win prizes and are eligible for a two-night stay at the Waikiki Beach Hotel for the Hawaii International Film Festival screening of One Voice on Oct. 15; folks overseas can win two roundtrip plane tickets from the continental U.S., American Samoa or Guam for the fest, which runs Oct. 14-24.

UPDATE: Amber McClure, content coordinator for PIC, reports from Honolulu that about 150 trivia contest entries have come in so far. "Many alumni of Kamehameha Schools have expressed their appreciation for the trivia questions and the opportunity for them to reminisce, reconnect with friends on Facebook, and look forward to the upcoming screenings of the film," she said. "We’ve also gotten comments from fans of Hawaiian music and dance from around the world, which has been really touching."