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Fitzy TV Removes TV Everywhere Authenticated Channels In Dispute with Adobe

Jason Gurwin

Last year, we profiled FitzyTV, an app that uses your TV Everywhere credentials to stream 75+ live channels from a single app. The app has wide appeal to streamers that don’t want to use a different TV Everywhere app for each network or used multiple streaming services and wanted to view their channels in one place.

Even for those with cable, FitzyTV serves as an extension of your cable box. It essentially gives you access to live TV in an additional room, without having to pay a $10-15 monthly set-top box fee. In November, the app was abruptly removed from Google Play and the Amazon App Store as a result of a “legal dispute” with Adobe.

Now, as a result of that dispute, FitzyTV has “agreed to disable the TV Everywhere functionality from the app which will result in all TVE-authenticated channels being removed for the time being.” This means that FitzyTV will continue to work, but only with those channels that don’t require authentication — like free streaming networks available on providers site or services like Locast.

More recently, the Channels App launched a similar feature that uses TV Everywhere to show streams inside their app. It will be interesting to see if they also face similar legal action from Adobe.

In a message to users on Reddit, FitzyTV said:

To our loyal users,

As you are probably aware, FitzyTV’s apps were suspended from the app stores due to a legal dispute with Adobe, which powers the TV Everywhere system for the cable industry. Adobe is taking the position that allowing our users to watch a channel they’re allowed to watch, on a device they’re allowed to watch it on, using a username and password they’re allowed to use, is a violation of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act because our software is used to launch the channel. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the CFAA “The Worst Law in Technology” as it stifles innovation, allows large corporations to use their monopolistic powers to threaten and intimidate small startups like ours, and “threatens a hallmark of today’s Internet: free and open access to publicly available information.”

While we disagree that we are in violation of the law and have tried for months to work with Adobe to settle the dispute, those efforts have been unsuccessful. In the interest of continuing operations and getting our apps restored, we have agreed to disable the TV Everywhere functionality from the app which will result in all TVE-authenticated channels being removed for the time being. This was a difficult decision to make, but we simply can no longer afford the legal costs to defend ourselves against their allegations while our business suffers due to not being available for download. We are still holding out hope that Adobe takes a pro-innovation stance and comes to the table to discuss how to work together to make a great user experience for TV Everywhere.

If you do not use a cable provider to authenticate, then you can continue to use FitzyTV uninterrupted. We have also continued opening up the platform so that streaming TV providers and developers can more easily directly integrate with us, so stay tuned for more on that. If you would like your provider to integrate directly with us, please reach out to them and have them contact us. If you are a developer and want access to our APIs, please email us at [email protected] for an API key.

If FitzyTV is no longer useful to you without TV Everywhere, you may of course cancel your account at https://www.fitzytv.com/my-account.html.

Thank you for being loyal FitzyTV users, and we hope to continue our mission to simplify the fragmented internet TV ecosystem despite this setback.

Sincerely,

The FitzyTV Team

While some other services like Aereo, have gotten into legal trouble for the “re-distribution of this content without paying broadcasters any fees”, James Fitzgerald, Founder of FitzyTV, told us a year ago that they believed they are in the clear. He said, “we’re not rebroadcasting the channels, and we’re verifying that a user has access to each channel through their provider by using their credentials to unlock the stream.”

At the time, he noted that he has not had any legal or DCMA notices from cable or content providers. Since however, MSG Networks had asked to be removed from the service.

The service also offers a Cloud DVR for $5 per month for every 25 hours of DVR capacity. While most Cloud DVR services record a single copy for all users, FitzyTV stores a unique recording for every user that requests it. He cites the court decision of Cartoon Network, LP v. CSC Holdings, Inc, which allows for cloud recordings so long as the transmitted copy is the “copy requested and recorded by a particular user.” The DVR can record both a single episode or a recurring series