Well, it’s about time the s**t hit the fan. RedLasso, which has continually insisted that it would soon sign licensing deals for the TV content it rips and makes available to bloggers, has received a cease and desist letter from NBC, CBS, and FOX asking it to stop infringing their copyright.
The TV networks accused RedLasso of copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition, false and deceptive practices, claiming “serious and irreparable harm.” They gave the company till May 29 to respond.
Though we at NewTeeVee believe RedLasso performs a valuable service by making relevant clips of television embeddable, we’ve been hung up on its lack of licensing deals all along. But the company told us it had been founded with approval from broadcasters and would soon get rights to their content. (See: “RedLasso: Cool News Vid Tools, but No Content Deals on Which to Use Them” from last year).
Just a couple weeks ago we wrote about the company’s insane traffic growth — some 24 million uniques in April.
RedLasso drew so much traffic, despite the fact it was still only available to 18,000 beta testers, because it allows users to embed video for viewing by the general public. Numbers like that (not to mention bragging about them) are bound to draw some attention.
At the time, we asked “Just to be certain, they still don’t have deals with any networks, right?” A spokesperson’s response: “No, they don’t.”
RedLasso was singing the same tune in a statement to Reuters today:
“We believe that curtailing distribution through the Redlasso platform only exacerbates a flawed distribution model. We hope to develop mutually beneficially partnerships with the world’s major media companies, including many of those we’ve heard from today.”
peHUB reported May 14 that RedLasso was looking to raise $15 million in funding to add to the more than $9.4 million it had raised from Anthem Capital, Osage Ventures, Guggenheim Opportunities Investors and angels. RedLasso CEO Ken Hayward told peHUB he was expecting $500,000 in revenue this year, and $9 million next year. We’d imagine this letter might put a dent in those plans.
Here’s the full document, as posted on Silicon Alley Insider: