The English High Court has found that online UK streaming-service provider, TVCatchUp, which claims to have nearly 10 million active users, infringed the rights of three UK broadcasters by re-transmitting their content over mobile networks. The High Court had previously referred the matter to the EU Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on certain legal issues and the order of the English Court sees the implementation of the EU Court’s ruling (view our previous article here).
In its order, the English Court directed TVCatchUp not to stream the main ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 networks on its mobile streaming service. It also ordered TVCatchUp not to stream the broadcasters’ digital channels (such as ITV2 and E4) on either its mobile or web-based services. Due to a carve-out in UK copyright legislation, however, TVCatchUp is not restrained from retransmitting the main public service channels (such as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) to a UK audience over the internet. The High Court did however question the compatibility of this carve-out with European law. The order also provided that TVCatchUp is not entitled to make transient copies of films made by the broadcasters within the “buffers of servers”.
The order will be of comfort to broadcasters in that it confirms that they have considerable protection over use of their content online. Similar disputes are sure to follow in the future given the number of streaming-service providers currently active online.
Contributed by: Brian McElligott