A legal battle has risen up in the USA which could have global repercussions, with giants Time Warner Cable and Viacom filing lawsuits against each other over the right to stream channels to devices like the Apple iPad.

The row sees cable companies take on channel providers over what devices they can stream channels to.

In this case, Time Warner Cable believes that it has the right to stream the channels that it shows onto devices that can be used like televisions (ie tablets and phones). And many channel owners (like Viacom) believe that they should be the ones to decide and benefit financially.

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So, Time Warner Cable has gone to the New York court in order to ask it to 'confirm its view' on the contractual allowance to stream, and Viacom has filed a suit claming breach of contract and copyright violations.

The UK's television landscape is very different, with the likes of Sky choosing to stream its own channels (thus neatly avoiding any problem) but problems could arise if the satellite giant, or BT or cable provider Virgin Media for that matter, started to stream channels that they don't own.

Viacom believes that by streaming its content, Time Warner Cable could damage its business and that it amounted to "unlicensed distribution of Viacom's programming."

That means that it fears it will be unable to license the content through other channels and benefit from the revenues generated by next generation devices like tablets – which are increasingly attractive media propositions for the consumer.

"With $5.2 billion in cash from operations last year, Time Warner Cable can certainly afford to provide our programming through this new broadband service without passing along any additional costs to its customers," added Viacom's claim.

We live in interesting times.

Via New York Times