LOS ANGELES -- Viacom Inc., the parent of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, is now fighting with two big cable operators over putting its content on tablet devices such as Apple's iPad.

Viacom, which is already in a legal battle with Time Warner Cable, Thursday filed a similar suit against Cablevision Systems Corp. saying the cable company does not have the right to put its channels on the iPad. Both suits were filed in federal court in New York.

Such disputes are becoming commonplace in the media industry. Distributors want to offer their services on new platforms in an effort to fight cord-cutting by consumers, while programmers want to be compensated more if their channels are going onto those platforms.

Time Warner Cable and Bethpage-based Cablevision, which owns Newsday, launched their iPad applications this year, and almost immediately several prominent programmers, including Viacom, cried foul. The distributors say their agreements with the programmers give them the rights to exploit new platforms. Programmers argue their deals are good only for television and any other outlet requires renegotiation.

"We have taken this action to protect our valuable content," Viacom said in a statement on its Cablevision suit. The media company added that efforts to resolve their differences have been "unproductive."

Cablevision said its iPad service "falls within our existing cable television licensing agreements with programmers -- including Viacom."

-- Los Angeles Times

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