Friday, March 08, 2013

A Bad Day For Internet TV

In a major ruling that could have serious implications for the future of television, the European Court of Justice has ruled against TV Catchup's right to retransmit free to air channels in the UK.

The case was brought by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and means that any internet TV service must get implicit permission to retransmit TV channels.

It was a somewhat strange ruling since it used a 2001 law that describes the broadcasters as 'authors' - I'm not sure what the programme makers or lexiographers would make of that.

It's also ironic that TV Catchup actually drives audiences to the complainants. Here's the ruling that is likely to do more than anything to preserve the hegenomy of the status quo in European television.


The European court of justice judgment

1. The concept of 'communication to the public', within the meaning of article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European parliament and of the council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, must be interpreted as meaning that it covers a retransmission of the works included in a terrestrial television broadcast where the retransmission is made by an organisation other than the original broadcaster, by means of an internet stream made available to the subscribers of that other organisation who may receive that retransmission by logging on to its server, even though those subscribers are within the area of reception of that terrestrial television broadcast and may lawfully receive the broadcast on a television receiver.
2. The answer to question one is not influenced by the fact that a retransmission, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, is funded by advertising and is therefore of a profit-making nature.
3. The answer to question one is not influenced by the fact that a retransmission, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, is made by an organisation which is acting in direct competition with the original broadcaster.