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Optus, football codes get listing date

The next copyright battleground

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The last big copyright-versus-the-Internet suit to be kicked off in December will be the battle between Optus and Australia’s dominant football codes, the National Rugby Leage (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL).

As The Register reported in September, Optus’ launch of a service called TV Now put the football codes in a spin. Optus’ service seemed purpose-designed to test the limits of Australia’s “time shifting” laws, by allowing users to record games into the cloud PVR for playback just two minutes after broadcast.

The codes kicked things off with lawyers’ letters, with Optus responding by seeking a ruling that they were making “groundless threats” against it. This “Section 202” tactic (so-called because that’s the relevant section of the Copyright Act) is a “put up or shut up” move – either the lawyers’ letters end, or the court case is precipitated as soon as possible.

The tactic appears to have had its intended outcome, with December 19 listed as the date when the Federal Court will begin hearings. For those interested in watching the case, it’s listed as NSD1430/2011 and will be heard by Justice Rares. ®

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