Optus trumps Telstra in war for digital PVR freedom
Football codes' case crashes, burns
Optus has vanquished Telstra and its claims on a multi million dollar rights deal for the online broadcasting of National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL) footage.
Telstra, the NRL and AFL have vowed that the matter is far from over and will appeal the landmark decisions. Using hackneyed sporting parlance AFL chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan said,"we maintain that the Optus action is a breach of copyright. However, we are only in the pre-season of this issue."
Following months of contention over Optus TV Now PVR digital recording service, the Federal Court ruled that Optus did not breach copyright by broadcasting matches via its new TV Now service.
Justice Steven Rares found that Optus' TV Now, which enables users to record matches to watch later on their smartphones and PCs, was effectively the same as recording matches on home video and digital recorders.
His finding supported Optus’ claim that its customers, not Optus, recorded the broadcasts - and this does not infringe any copyright, since time-shifting is endorsed in the Copyright Act. The AFL, NRL and Telstra were also ordered to pay Optus' legal costs.
Justice Rares is yet to decide on other key issues in the case, including that some Apple devices store files that contain sections of the match broadcasts, possibly constituting a breach of copyright.
"I decided that Optus' TV Now service did not infringe copyright in the broadcasts of the AFL and NRL games in the particular ways that the rightholders alleged," Justice Rares said in the judgement.
The AFL and NRL contend that the Optus service infringed their copyright by making copies of the match broadcasts and later communicating the copies to users of the service.
Under an exception in the Copyright Act, a person is allowed to make a copy of a broadcast solely for their personal use at a time more convenient than when a broadcast is made.
Telstra has forked out $AU153 million for its exclusive internet broadcast rights for both the AFL and NRL, covering the 2012 to 2016 seasons.
"We believe that protecting content rights is in the interest of Telstra, the sporting codes and sporting fans who ultimately benefit from the investments that flow from broadcast rights," Telstra spokesperson Craig Middleton said.
Optus launched the TV Now service in July 2011, allowing users to record free-to-air programs including NRL and AFL matches and play them back on a computer or smartphone.
Optus GM corporate and government affairs Clare Gill said that convergence was now upon us and Australians needed to ensure that they have the choice, convenience and flexibility to access content when and where they want.
“We were confident that the Optus TV Now product was well within the intention and the spirit of the Copyright Act and this was confirmed by today’s decision. Optus is putting control in the hands of the customer and is proud to advocate consumers’ rights when it comes to content consumption. The Copyright Act was amended in 2006 to allow this type of innovation and we are very pleased the court has confirmed this,” she said. ®
@ Graham Wilson -- Here we go again! ... part 3
6. What's happened in the last 30/40 years has been the hijacking of news events (sport etc.)--once considered in the public domain--into private ownership, and this hijack has been aided and abetted by copyright law. Copyright law has forced commercialisation onto many aspects of human activity where it once never existed, the commercialisation of sport being one of the most notable and significant.
The intensive commercialisation of sport has actually changed our culture. And whether it be for better or worse, at no time in history has there ever been a public debate let alone a consensus about whether copyright law (law created for a different purpose), should be allowed to bleed over into and affect areas of traditional human activity such as culture and recreation etc., thus effectively change society as a consequence.
Of course, in Australia, Telstra--that cesspool created out of government greed--would naturally gravitate into these murky areas of law. Copyright law and the government sale of Telstra are both illustrative of how society can suffer when laws are not properly thought through and the carpetbaggers who passed them into law are only interested in the monetary aspects of these laws.
Here, in Australia, the concept that I've just elucidated would, for most, be incomprehensible. Therefore, expect this win for Optus to be overturned on appeal. If, strangely, the appeal were to fail, then the lobbying orgy in Canberra will be revolting and truly sickening (don't even contemplate it if you've a weak stomach).
Never will the natural order of things in Australia be allowed to change just because someone accidentally made a correct decision.
But you will need to have foxtel at home. This allows Optus to 'tape' the shows that are only on foxtel to people who do not subscribe to foxtel (sky equiv)
This breaks the pay tv model
My reading of the article is that Optus are providing you with a video recorder. YOU program what you want it to record, so that YOU can watch it later at a time more convienient to you. It says that the copyright laws allow for this, so no problem there.
Now it also seems that the video recorder that Optus provides is based at their facilities, but then the copyright law probably does not specify where exactly the video recorder has to be placed. Hence nothing seems to have been done wrongly.