TVCatchup, a website for watching live TV online, is facing a legal challenge from broadcasters as it prepares for the World Cup.
Record numbers of people are expected to turn to the web to watch the football tournament, particularly those at work when matches are broadcast. But ITV, Channel 4 and Five have issued legal proceedings against TVCatchup that could disrupt its service.
“TVCatchup does not have a content distribution agreement in place to stream content from any of our channels,” the broadcasters said. “We reserve the right to pursue any site or service we believe to be infringing our copyright or using our content in an unlicensed, illegal capacity.”
The BBC, which has had its content removed from similar online services in recent months, is also “in correspondence” with TVCatchup.
TVCatchup claims to be the most popular live video streaming service in the UK. As well as PC access, it allows viewing on mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad over both 3G and WiFi networks, capabilities that many broadcasters are still developing.
TVCatchup said it had applied for court approval of its service before the broadcasters launched their dispute. “TVCatchup is committed to resolving any issue concerning our content distribution, but this will now be an unnecessarily protracted process,” said the company.
In spite of the legal action, TVCatchup said it would be “business as usual” during the World Cup.