Variety and Lateline report that Australian Channel 9 was in court yesterday with a copyright action against fellow Aussie company Ice TV. Ice TV deploys a Personal Interactive Media Player (PIMP for short – yes, really) which, for a fee of AUS$3 a week, allows subscribers to designate programmes that they wish to record electronically. The recordings skip the adverts in the original broadcasts. Channel 9 claims that in so doing, Ice TV infringes Channel 9’s copyright in its broadcast schedules by using the information therein and by reproducing the schedules in electronic form.
The IPKat has some sympathy with Channel 9 here. A programme that means that viewers won’t see the adverts could reduce Channel 9’s revenue stream, and ultimately deprive those viewers of the programmes that they are using PIMP to record. He further notes that while Channel 9 might be preventing the development of a secondary market in such technology, unlike the ECJ’s Magill case, there is a good reason inherent in the nature of broadcasting for keeping this information back.
AUSSIE TiVo-TYPE COPYRIGHT CASE AUSSIE TiVo-TYPE COPYRIGHT CASE Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 Rating: 5


  1. Interestingly, it's also been reported that the defendant invited Channel 9 to view how the system operates, but Channel 9 declined to do so. Network Ten and Channel 7, Australia's other free to air broadcasters, took up the invitation and, so far, have not joined Channel 9 in rushing to the Court door.

    Just to make it that much more fascinating, there are rumours swirling Australia this morning that James Packer will put up half of PBL (the company that owns Channel 9) for sale. Any potential threat to the revenue stream could drive down the price just a little bit!

  2. < rant >
    As a British ex-pat in Australia, I applaud anything that can be done to reduce the number of adverts we're subjected to over here.

    Actually, to be fair, I would applaud anything that can be done to reduce the influence of the commercial networks generally. They make Channel 5 look like a polished station. And the programming ... back-to-back US cop drivel.

    And the radio is even worse!

    I miss the BBC. Even Jonathan Ross on Radio 2 is better than the drivel we get. I'd even rather listen to Sue McGregor than the morons on Mix 106, Nova 96.9 or Triple-J.
    < /rant >

  3. Try the archived programmes on the BBC's excellent website.

  4. IPKat is mistaken in thinking that IceTV subscribers coud be depriving Nine of revenue. Nine's advertisers pay for viewers. Viewers are measured by the ratings. Ratings measure people who watch shows LIVE - NOT people who miss the show and watch a time-shifted recording of it.

    Some then say that if everyone started to time shift, Nine might have fewer viewers and still lose revenue. But that's fallacious too - Nine's market share wouldn't change since every network's share of live audience would fall proportionately. There's no reason to suppose that Nine viewers would record and skip ads and every other station's viewers would keep watching live TV.

    So, at the end of the day, Nine has in my opinion brought an unwinnable case for erroneous reasons and the Australian public is in danger of losing the sole EPG service that will let them enjoy the benefits of s. 111 of the Copyright Act!

  5. The recordings skip the adverts in the original broadcasts

    ...wish they did

    ICETV provide the Electronic Program Guide data. The PVR devices record the shows based on selections in the EPG, whether they use PIMP or not.

    The viewer CAN skip the adverts by fast forwarding through what they recorded when they play it back (pretty much like what you can do on a VCR).

    At this point in time, there is no way to skip adverts in original broadcasts in Australia unless you sit there pausing the recording while it is happening (but why would you bother)

  6. So unusual to see a Brit ex pat (Anon 2:31am) have a rave against Aussie TV, radio, newspapers, butter, cars, clothes, beer, popcorn, cranes, shops, light bulbs ... i could go on. Imagine a TiVo type system that could erase their miserable comments from your blogs - or turn them into happy blogs with constructive ideas and a progressive attitude. I'd really like to see that.

  7. The viewer CAN skip the adverts by fast forwarding through what they recorded when they play it back (pretty much like what you can do on a VCR).


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