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SonicBlue Litigated Into Bankruptcy

ReplayTV digital video recorder maker seeks protection:

    The company … has been spending as much as $1 million a month in litigation expenses to defend a lawsuit brought by more than two dozen entertainment companies. The entertainment companies allege that ReplayTV owners are violating copyright law when they skip commercials. EFF represents five individual ReplayTV owners who have counter-sued the entertainment companies to establish that skipping commercials is legal.

    “Today’s bankruptcy sends a clear message to technology companies: you may not innovate without Hollywood’s prior approval, on pain of enormous litigation expenses,” said EFF Staff Attorney Gwen Hinze.

    “This puts the case on hold for the short term,” said Ira Rothken of the Rothken Law Firm, lead lawyer on behalf of the individual ReplayTV owners. “Much will depend on the details of the bankruptcy, but we are still very interested in making it clear that Hollywood cannot use copyright law to force consumers to watch commercials.” [EFF]

More on the filing:

    Hardware maker Sonicblue has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and intends to sell its ReplayTV digital recorder and Rio MP3 player businesses.
    The bankruptcy notice, filed Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Jose, Calif., is intended to let Sonicblue continue operations long enough to sell its main subsidiaries. The company plans to complete those sales by April and then to open the bidding for its remaining assets.

    “In the end, we and our financial advisers have concluded that the best outcome for our creditors and our employees is to sell our businesses to better-heeled owners,” Gregory Ballard, Sonicblue’s CEO, said in a statement.

    ….The company has been fighting a lawsuit by the entertainment industry over technology in its ReplayTV device that lets people skip commercials. [CNET]

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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