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TV Now Is The Latest Internet-Based DVR Service To Find Courtroom Trouble

Postby sunnyd » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:58 pm

Story : http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/04/overseas-courts-no-more-friendly

Consumers around the world want a hassle-free way to record free, over-the-air television and play it back on any Internet-connected device. But every time a company creates such a service, it gets sued by copyright holders. Last year we reported on ivi, an American firm that argued that it qualified for a compulsory licensing regime designed for cable companies. The courts didn't buy it. Another American company, Aereo, is still fighting in court about whether its "tiny antennas" service is legal.

A similar fight has been happening in Australia. Optus, a major Australian telecom company, created a service called TV Now. Like ivi and Aereo, it acts as a virtual DVR, recording over-the-air television programs selected by individual customers and later streaming them to those same customers. Like its American counterparts, Optus quickly found itself in court facing charges of copyright infringement. On Friday, it suffered a major setback when an appeals court ruled the service was illegal.

Australian copyright law allows consumers to record television programs for "private and domestic use." Optus argued that programs recorded on a customer's behalf by TV Now qualified for this exemption because Optus's own role was purely passive. The trial judge, Justice Steven Rares accepted that argument in February, favorably citing an American precedent that has become the legal foundation for cloud music services.

But Justice Rares's decision was overruled on Friday by a three-judge panel. "Optus is not merely making available its system to another who uses it to copy a broadcast," the judges wrote in their opinion. "Rather it captures, copies, stores, and makes available for reward, a programme for later viewing by another."



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