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ABC sends lawyers after iView freeware

Client for Australia's iPlayer equivalent under threat on Linux and Android

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Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, has unleashed its legal team on the creator of an alternative frontend app for ABC’s iView, issuing a stern take down notice.

The offending free software, Python-iView, allows users to watch content from the ABC's iView media player, which is functionally similar to the BBC's iPlayer, hosted content on non-Adobe Flash centric environments including Linux based and Android devices. The software also enabled access of iView hosted shows where internet access is slow or patchy.

In a letter (PDF) from the ABC’s legal department the ABC suggests that Visser “may be in breach of section 116AP of the Copyright Act 1968 by offering to the public a circumvention service for technological protection measures implemented in respect of ABC iview content“.

It also states that the software use violates the ABCs terms and conditions and claims “you are authorizing the infringement of ABC copyright in the ABC iView content in breach of act 101 of the Copyright Act 1968 by providing the means to supply such users to permanently download and store ABC iView content without permission.”

The ABC requested a cease and desist order on the availability of the software by August 17.

Visser posted the letter on his blog and advised users: "I have temporarily ceased distribution of Python-iView until I get this sorted out with the ABC. I’ve offered to put all sorts of legal disclaimer nags into the software in exchange for continuing to allow users to play videos on their favourite media players. My primary concern is that the ABC believe I am facilitating copyright infringement by distributing this software. Which is of course complete bollocks, but I need to convince them of that."

The ABC’s legal team was not available for comment.

Disgruntled users have pointed out that such a stance from the ABC would not be taken against commercial IPTV and PVR providers such as Tivo or FetchTV recording the FTA DVB-T broadcasts.

Visser also states in his blog that after seeking advice from the EFA and the Linux Australia council, the consensus was to “let the ABC have their way” as they could not offer any legal support. ®

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