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Judge Orders Cases Involving ReplayTV Video Recorder Combined

CNET News.com reports that U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper granted a motion to allow a suit filed by the Electronic Freedom Foundation with one filed by SonicBlue against several TV networks and movie studios. These suits were apparently filed in response to a lawsuit that had been filed by the TV networks and movie studios, alleging that ReplayTV devices allow their users to violate copyright law by skipping commercials present in most television programming.

This is an interesting development because the judge was expected to deny the request to combine these lawsuits. In the ruling, the judge said that the question of whether the plaintiff's use of ReplayTV's features constitutes fair use will "figure prominently in both" actions. We suggest that these cases are worth following, because they may provide insight into whether television viewers' traditional rights to watch programming as they wish are being rolled back.

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