WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday delayed deciding if cable TV providers may allow subscribers to record shows in devices housed at cable offices, observers said.
The high court issued a call for the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in by submitting an opinion on the case, in which Cablevision Systems Inc. is vying to offer its subscribers network television programming digitally recorded at the company's central office, the Los Angeles Times reported.
U.S. television networks and film studios first moved to block Cablevision's plans three years ago, going to court to prevent it from introducing a new "video on demand" service. Through it, consumers could order recordings of shows directly from the cable provider rather than recording them themselves on set-top digital video recorders, or DVRs, the newspaper said.
The cable provider says the service is allowed under the Supreme Court's landmark 1984 "Betamax case," in which it ruled that home use of videocassette recorders was allowed under copyright laws. But the major TV networks and film studios claim that because the recording equipment isn't in subscribers' homes, it violates their copyrights, the Times reported.
It said the court's request for more input could delay the case for months.