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ITV catches up with TVCatchup

ECJ ruling bleak news for Internet rebroadcast

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Rebroadcasting copped a hit in Europe, with the Fourth Chamber of the European Court of Justice deciding that TVCatchup is infringing on ITV's copyright.

The case was taken to the European beaks in 2011, on a referral from Britain's High Court.

ITV had complained that TVCatchup was infringing its copyright by providing an Internet-based transmission of material after broadcast. TVCatchup's defence was that it did not transmit the material, but rather provided individuals with the technical means by which members of the public could access content.

Its argument was that its users made the copies of broadcasts, and were merely availing themselves of the right to time-shift broadcasts using TVCatchup's infrastructure. The High Court disagreed, with Mr Justice Floyd calling it “an alternative service to that of the original broadcaster, including its own advertising content, and which is in competition with the service provided by the original broadcaster”.

In the ruling, handed down on March 7, the European Court of Justice notes “each transmission or retransmission of a work which uses a specific technical means must, as a rule, be individually authorised by the author of the work in question.”

It goes on to state that “the protected works are indeed communicated to a ‘public’ within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29.”

The ECJ's decision sets the principles by which European courts will adjudicate on cases such as TVCatchup. The High Court will now resume its deliberations. ®

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