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No TVNow: Optus Denied High Ct Appeal

No TVNow: Optus Denied High Ct Appeal

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The telco is far from happy with today’s ruling, which now means it has to continue suspending the TV Now mobile app, which allowed users to record free-to-air content and play it back on their smartphone within minutes of the live broadcast.

Optus had hoped the High Court of Australia would grant leave to appeal the decision in the case, handed down by the Federal Court earlier this year, which ruled the Optus online service had breached copyright laws.

This judgement overturned an earlier ruling in February, by Justice Steven Rares, who found Optus’ TV Now did not infringe copyright broadcasts of the AFL and NRL games.

Telstra, the NRL and AFL sought to shut down Optus’¬†TVNow service, claiming it infringed copyright laws and jeopardised the sporting broadcasting rights media broadcasters pay vast sums for.

Telstra paid both the Rugby and Football codes millions for exclusive Internet and TV broadcast rights, which Optus’ service rendered virtually worthless, the trio had claimed.

Telstra was not involved in the High Court case.

But Optus’ VP of regulatory affairs, David Epstein, says the service is just a 21st century solution to watching TV online.

“We can’t shut ourselves off from the world,” he said, indicating the issue was a timebomb waiting to go off.

“This is a very important public policy issue that still needs to be resolved to give clarity to both consumers and the industry,” Epstein warned.

“People are increasingly wanting to watch TV when they want, where they want and on what they want. But the law as it stands imposes an arbitrary distinction between technologies.”

“We don’t want to find ourselves facing a 21st century equivalent of being forced to store things on 8-track cartridges and audio cassettes rather than more convenient technology like online storage.”

However, the Optus case is still being considered by the Australian Law Reform Commission, meaning it isn’t completely over, just yet.