Optus to contest TV copyright ruling

Australian telco Optus has confirmed that it will appeal against a landmark decision that prevents its customers from streaming delayed sports matches on their mobile phones.

Optus’s TV Now service allows customers to record free-to-air television – including AFL and NRL matches – from their smartphone or computer and watch it with a delay of just two minutes.

In February, a Federal Court judge initially ruled that the Optus service did not breach copyright law, but the ruling was overturned in April. Federal Court justices Paul Finn, Arthur Emmett and Annabelle Bennett ruled that Optus was the maker of recordings, rather than individual subscribers, which meant the company was in contravention of copyright laws.

According to Optus chief executive Paul O’Sullivan, the case is extremely important in deciding the future of innovation, consumer choice and competition in Australia. “As innovations like TV Now are readily available in other parts of the world, Australia must remain globally competitive and embrace the rapid convergence of technologies as we head towards an NBN world,” O’Sullivan said.

He expressed the belief that Optus has some right to broadcast television content as the company invests millions of dollars in the medium through advertising. “That advertising funds free-to-air broadcasts and, from our point of view, our technology is merely allowing Australians to record those free-to- air broadcasts to watch them at a more convenient time, it’s really just a modern version of the video recorder,” he argued. “This is a very important public policy issue that needs to be determined by the highest court in the land, to give clarity to both consumers and the industry.”

The football bodies and Telstra, which owns the digital rights to the coverage, say the service threatens exclusive Internet broadcasting deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

 

Optus to contest TV copyright ruling

Australian telco Optus has confirmed that it will appeal against a landmark decision that prevents its customers from streaming delayed sports matches on their mobile phones.

Optus’s TV Now service allows customers to record free-to-air television – including AFL and NRL matches – from their smartphone or computer and watch it with a delay of just two minutes.

In February, a Federal Court judge initially ruled that the Optus service did not breach copyright law, but the ruling was overturned in April. Federal Court justices Paul Finn, Arthur Emmett and Annabelle Bennett ruled that Optus was the maker of recordings, rather than individual subscribers, which meant the company was in contravention of copyright laws.

According to Optus chief executive Paul O’Sullivan, the case is extremely important in deciding the future of innovation, consumer choice and competition in Australia. “As innovations like TV Now are readily available in other parts of the world, Australia must remain globally competitive and embrace the rapid convergence of technologies as we head towards an NBN world,” O’Sullivan said.

He expressed the belief that Optus has some right to broadcast television content as the company invests millions of dollars in the medium through advertising. “That advertising funds free-to-air broadcasts and, from our point of view, our technology is merely allowing Australians to record those free-to- air broadcasts to watch them at a more convenient time, it’s really just a modern version of the video recorder,” he argued. “This is a very important public policy issue that needs to be determined by the highest court in the land, to give clarity to both consumers and the industry.”

The football bodies and Telstra, which owns the digital rights to the coverage, say the service threatens exclusive Internet broadcasting deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login