Skip to Content

Open Internet

Happy Conclusion to Remote DVR Case

Happy Conclusion to Remote DVR Case

I noted at the beginning of the month that the Solicitor General had advised the Supreme Court not to reconsider the important Second Circuit case giving the green light to Cablevision’s “remote storage digital video recorder” (RS-DVR). I’m very happy to report that the Supreme Court has followed that advice. Yesterday the Court “denied cert” — meaning that it won’t take the case and that the Second Circuit’s decision will remain the final word on the matter.

This effectively puts an end to the serious threat posed by the original 2007 District Court decision, which held that the RS-DVR would infringe copyright based on the physical location of data storage. As CDT explained in a 2007 policy post and legal brief (, the implications of that ruling for cloud computing could have been hugely damaging. Ditto the court’s finding of liability based on transitory buffering — something all digital devices do.

CDT and its allies spent a great deal of time to make sure the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and later the Solicitor General’s office would understand and appreciate what was at stake here. Thankfully, the final outcome is a strong appeals court decision rejecting the idea that using remote storage and buffers should expose service providers to extensive copyright liability. This was a big win, and a major bullet dodged!