A High Court judge has dismissed arguments brought by TV Catchup Ltd that its online streaming service does not constitute broadcasting in a copyright infringement case brought against TV Catchup Ltd by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
TV Catchup had provided access to the commercial channels as well as those belonging to the BBC as part of a 50-channel package, made available through the web, iPhones and games consoles.
Like Zattoo, which withdrew from the UK after a similar dispute, a short delay is made at every channel change to allow the company to insert its own advertisements.
Appearing on behalf of the claimants James Mellor QC argued the transmissions could not be recognized as broadcasts under Section 6 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, but still met with Section 20 as it involved the communication of his clients’ broadcasts.
Anthony Boswood QC, defending, argued that rather than a broadcast of “one to many”, the online transmissions of TV Catch Up were actually “one to one”. He said that in order to meet with Section 20 the transmission had to comply with Section 6 in the first place.
Presiding, Justice Kitchin said Mr Boswood’s arguments were confusing the protected work and the restricted act of communication to the public by electronic transmission of all of those images, sounds and other information. He said that while Section 17 of the Act prohibited making a copy of the broadcast and Section 18 issuing copies of the broadcast to the public, there was no requirement that the copy itself must be a broadcast. Justice Kitchin said he was satisfied the claimants had a real prospect of success.
TV Catch Up will find out in detail at a full hearing in the New Year.
As of Monday night (November 29), TV Catch Up remained available, and although Broadband TV News had difficulties viewing ITV1, the company says no channels have been withdrawn. Indeed, as of Tuesday ITV1 continued to be streamed by the site.
Last week the New York Southern District Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the online video service FilmOn streaming programming from the major US networks. However, the site remains operational, including its UK version.