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OnlineTV recorder TVCatchup.com shut down

Targeted by broadcasters

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The plug has been pulled on TVCatchup.com, a legally questionable web-based personal video recorder service, that allowed users to hoard UK TV shows online for free.

TVCatchup.com - tagline: "never miss a show again" - enabled members to set programmes to record up to seven days in advance. It stored up to 10GB of TV per user from 12 UK channels which were then made available for streaming for 60 days. If a user forgot to record a show they could request that others "lend" their copy.

Visitors to the site are now greeted with the message: "This Account Has Been Terminated For Terms Of Service Violations." TVCatchup claimed it had the same legal status as a domestic video recorder.

The site's legal status was always in question. In December the BBC said it was investigating TVCatchup's status. "We are not aware of TVCatchup having approached us, nor have we given our permission for them to make BBC programmes available to the public on this basis.

"We do not accept all of the assumptions and assertions that they have made in their terms of service, and will be looking into this further," spokesman told The Guardian.

Adam Smith, the site's founder, boasted: "Legally they can do nothing about it. We are not based over there... we aren't recording, the users are, it is a personal service".

TVCatchup's operators aimed to fund the site through advertising, and said it had approached ITV, Sky and Channel Five to offer to sell them slots on the site. The cheek is admirable, really.

Smith's company reportedly invested £100,000 in the service. ®

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