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Far from Hollywood and Silicon Valley, a key battle over the future of digital entertainment is looming at a federal courthouse in Georgia.

There, a judge will decide on a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Gemstar-TV Guide International against its rivals in the market for "interactive programming guides" used in TV set-top boxes that provide cable and satellite services. As obscure as the case may sound, its outcome could have profound consequences for the computer, television and entertainment industries.

"The interactive programming guide is going to be the first thing you see when you turn on the television, and that's what everybody's fighting about," said Richard Sherrill, senior vice president of the ITV group at Kitro Media, who has a long history in the cable TV industry. "They all want to control it: The cable guys say they own it, TV Guide says it owns that real estate, even TV manufacturers want a piece of it."

http://news.com.com/2009-1023-944917.html?tag=fd_lede
 
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