A UK High Court ruling has forced streaming website TVCatchUp to drop over 20 channels aired by commercial broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The ruling means that it cannot stream the main ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 networks on its mobile TV service, nor can it stream 11 of the broadcasters’ digital channels, which include popular stations ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, E4, Film4 and More4, on its web-based online service. TVCatchUp was also ordered to pay £200,000 towards legal costs.
It will continue to display the channels, but each channel icon will redirects to the broadcasters’ own live streams hosted on their individual websites.
It is able to carry the main ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 services via the web under provisions of section 73 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act.
A joint statement from the broadcasters welcomed the decision, describing it as “a significant vindication” for the action in that the judge ruled 21 of the channels were to be removed from the TVC website. “This result will help protect the substantial investment broadcasters make in content and is a clear message to those who seek to infringe our copyright or use our content in an illegal capacity,” they said.
Explaining its decision to remove the channels while the action was under consideration, TVCatchUp said that it enjoyed “excellent” relationships with most of those whose content it carried, but this sadly hadn’t proved to be the case with all of the public service broadcasters (PSBs).
“Whilst the outcome so far of the ensuing proceedings has been undeniably favourable to TVC, the rights that have been granted in the process entail certain responsibilities on our part. We pride ourselves in always working within the law, we accordingly felt it necessary to remove certain of the channels to avoid perpetuating contention,” it said. “We will be introducing additional services (including HQ and new channels) on an ongoing basis, and hope to work with the broadcasters concerned to restore any channels that have been affected. We want to work together with all the broadcasters on acceptable terms, as our partners in bringing you the best selection of shows online, and to continue to deliver their content to the widest possible audience.In the meantime we have provided direct links to their sites for your convenience, along with additional content for your enjoyment and are committed to improving choice and services for our valued users.”