MobiTV, HowardForums avoid legal skirmish

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Mobile broadcast service provider MobiTV appears to be softening its stance against mobile community resource community HowardForums after hitting the site with a cease-and-desist letter last week. HowardForums earned MobiTV's wrath after posting a web address purportedly enabling end-around access to premium MobiTV content, promising readers free access to all of the firm's streaming mobile TV channels via mobile device or PC. The URL, posted by a HowardForums member, was originally discovered on a Sprint forum and reportedly has been circulating on the web for several months. MobiTV threatened HowardForums with legal action if the site did not remove the URL and related links by 5 p.m. PST Friday, alleging the post constitutes "a violation and infringement of MobiTV's intellectual property rights, including, without limitation, its copyright, trademark, and trade secret rights."

But in a statement issued late Friday, MobiTV said it would attempt to solve the problem via technological means instead of legal recourse, stating it was "actively implementing additional security measures to address this unauthorized access as well as the isolated issue of certain content feeds posted on HowardForums.com and on other websites. It is our responsibility to ensure that our service and the programming entrusted to us by our content providers is protected at all times." MobiTV added it would not attempt to interrupt or shut down HowardForums. While MobiTV maintains the URL was not publicly available, and procured only through hacking or debugging, HowardForums proprietor Howard Chui told OnlineMediaDaily that is untrue: "No hacking was involved," he said. "MobiTV could've added access control and people wouldn't be able to view it anymore. When I want to protect something online I put a password on it or encrypt it."

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