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Broadcasters gang up on TV Catchup

21 channels removed from the service
Mon Oct 14 2013, 11:02

ONLINE TELEVISION PORTAL TV Catchup remains upbeat despite a court ruling in favour of public service broadcasters (PSBs) that might mean the permanent removal of their channels from the service.

TV Catchup, which boasts 12 million registered users, was told that in spite of previous rulings to the contrary and a number of security measures to ensure that the channels were only viewable in the UK, the service offered the channels to a new audience, over and above existing availability, and therefore permission should have been sought.

The ruling means that all derivative channels, including ITV2, E4 and Channel 5 would be removed altogether, whilst the parent channels, which are protected under separate laws, would be blocked from mobile devices. As you can see from the screenshot above, the ruling has already taken effect, though given that Jeremy Kyle was on, this might have been an improvement.

The next stop for the case is the High Court, where the lack of parity between a PSB and its subsidiaries will be questioned. This could be an all or nothing situation for all parties, as it will decide whether the entire channel stable of a broadcaster should be considered a public service entity, or merely the parent channel.

TV Catchup will argue that, if the ruling were to go against it cable services including Virgin Media and BT Vision would be guilty of the same violations. The ruling demonstrates once again the need for clarity regarding intellectual copyright laws in the UK, as there remains a lack of parity between the original ex-analogue services and their offshoots.

We also can't help but wonder how someone who circumvents the location protocols on the website doesn,t deserve to be rewarded. After all, how is it different from a DXer picking up British television in Ireland or France, or the fact that the Dutch have been enjoying our TV via cable for years?

It seems to highlight that judges remain afraid of the internet. The independent broadcasters seem to be cutting their noses off to spite their faces on this. Why would they want to refuse extra viewers for the sake of a pedantic principle? The only people who are losing out are the viewers. µ


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