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Boxee disputes NBC's explanation for Hulu takedown

The CEO of Boxee, the software startup that connects Internet video with the TV set, has shot back at the head of NBC, who testified yesterday before a House subcommittee that Boxee had illegally appropriated content from Hulu last year.

Boxee's Avner Ronen sees it a little different.

"I'd like to set the record straight regarding Boxee's access to Hulu," Ronen wrote today in a blog post. "Boxee uses a Web browser to access Hulu's content - just like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Boxee users click on a link to Hulu's Web site and the video within that page plays. We don't 'take' the video. We don't copy it. We don't put ads on top of it. The video and the ads play like they do on other browsers or on Hulu Desktop. And it certainly is legal to do so."

NBC's Zucker was testifying before Congress yesterday in defense of the proposed merger with Comcast, answering questions about, among other things, how the combined entity would affect the emerging online video market. Hulu, of which NBC owns roughly a 30 percent stake, last year pulled its content from Boxee, a move it explained at the time came at the request of its programming providers.

At yesterday's hearing, Zucker characterized it a little differently, telling Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) that the decision was made by Hulu's management, offering no hint of the role played by content providers such as NBC.

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