Fox Warns Cablevision: Stop Telling Customers to Steal Our Content

In cease-and-desist letter, the cable company is accused of directing subscribers to “illegal” websites for games

Last Updated: October 26, 2010 @ 1:35 PM

The nasty fight between Fox and Cablevision over fees just got nastier.

On Tuesday, Fox sent Cablevision a cease-and desist-letter demanding the company stop encouraging its customers to steal copyrighted material.

The letter comes after a report in the New York Daily News claimed that a Cablevision representative was caught on tape telling a customer to seek out Fox’s NFL and baseball broadcasts on “illegal” websites.

The rep also told the customer that Cablevision has an “internal team trolling the Internet for similar ways people can watch Fox for free,” according to the report.

“Copyright law exists to protect the very creative freedoms that fuel our industry,” Fox said in a statement. “As both a creator and owner of intellectual property — not to mention major sports franchises — Cablevision knows better and should immediately call an end to this unlawful activity.”

Cablevision dismissed Fox's threat as more posturing in a war that continues to be fought in broad daylight.

“This is an obvious tactic from News Corp., which blocked the Internet, to shift focus away from their pulling the plug on 3 million New York households," Cablevision said in a statement provided to TheWrap. "Fox should cease and desist its World Series blackout, put its programming back on Cablevision and agree to binding arbitration.”

The latest salvo in the fight over retransmission fees comes a day before the start of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers, which is carried by Fox.

Fox pulled its signal from New York-area Cablevision subscribers on October 16, and both sides have accused each other of bad faith negotiations ever since.

More than 3.5 million customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have been affected by the blackout.

Click here to read a copy of the cease and desist letter.

[S.F. Giants/Brian Wilson photo via SI Vault]