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TVCatchup takes a hit from Channels 4, 5 and ITV

European court rules unauthorised TV live streaming infringes copyright
Thu Mar 07 2013, 16:08

TELEVISION ANYWHERE ENABLER TVCatchup is celebrating a win over the big UK broadcasters today regarding its right to show live telly as it's happening.

TVCatchup is an app based service that gives tablet and smartphone users access to whatever is showing on the goggle box.

The TV broadcasters don't like this and many offer their own services, but punters do. TVCatchup opponents tried to strike it down in court. They did, but not totally.

Talk in the TV Catchup camp is about success. "TVCatchup Declares Overall Victory With Broadcasters," is the headline of its reaction to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision that ruled it must get permission to stream content from certain channels.

Those channels belong to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, and the issue under discussion was whether TVCatchup was allowed to distribute their television content over the internet.

The channels were complaining that TVCatchup had no right to broadcast their shows. TVCatchup argued the opposite. In the end it all came down to a technicality, and the ECJ's decision that such services need permission to show live TV.

For the TVCatchup service this is the beginning of an end to a conflict that it would like to see over. It has already legally secured the right to show what other outlets are showing, just via a different medium.

Now, following this ECJ decision on a technicality that has something to do with a "new public" that might not have a TV license, it has an appointment at the UK High Court.

"Barely 30 percent of our users view such content. This would be more than compensated for by the addition of those many channels who have asked to join us," said TVCatchup director Bruce Pilley,

"TVC is here to stay, we may have relinquished some ground in a minor part of our battle, but the war has already been decided in our favour. We remain Europe's first and only legal internet cable service and the ECJ opinion affects only a handful of channels we carry."

Pilley added that the decisions so far are "an acceptable price to pay for ending the years of uncertainty arising from the vexatious action of a handful of broadcasters". µ


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