Since its UK launch in December 2007 the Swiss-based service has claimed that the retransmission of the BBC and other channels is permissible under the UK Copyright Act. However, it has come under increasing pressure from broadcasters that believe the transmissions are both illegal and a threat to their own online services. To date the legal routes have so far been unable to unify the Big 5 networks. Even the catch-up TV service SeeSaw has been unable to source content directly from ITV.
“The BBC has not authorised the streaming of BBC channels through Zattoo, and we’re pleased that they have ceased their unauthorised retransmissions,” a BBC spokesman told Broadband TV News. “All our TV channels can be streamed live online through the BBC iPlayer”.
A spokesman for Zattoo confirmed to Broadband TV News that the channels, including BBC One, BBC Two and BBC News, had been taken down at the request of the BBC. The spokesman said this enabled capacity to be freed up to support additional devices and launch a web presence.
Swiss copyright law continues to play fast and loose with the definition of copyright. Local cablenets retransmit the majority of the UK’s national channels, picking up on their free-to-air satellite transmissions.
Zattoo users can download an application to run on their computer, while the channel is buffering an advertisement is displayed. This lead to court action in Germany from Universal and Warner Bros, who claimed Zattoo had no right to insert commercial messages into their movies.
With the BBC removed, Zattoo is still left with ITV, Channel 4, Five, S4C, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg and Deutsche Welle amongst others.