Sites like TVCatchUp.com that retransmit live TV over the internet without express permission from content owners are in breach of copyright laws, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.
In a case brought against TVCatchUp by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, the ECJ ruled that the website must now get rights from broadcasters before streaming their content.
The Court ruled that creators of programmes or ‘authors’ as it says have exclusive rights to authorise and prohibit streaming services like TVCatchUp using their content.
Now it’s just a matter of time before ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 content disappears from TVCatchUp. The ruling will need to be ratified into UK law before ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 can legally order that TVCatchUp stops showing their content.
Not that this seems to have TVCatchUp director Bruce Pilley bothered much. Pilley says that
barely 30 per cent TVCatchUp’s 12 million users watched any ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 content and that incoming deals with major content providers will more than compensate from the departure of these channels.
As well as streaming programmes online, TVCatchUp is available via a brace of mobile apps for iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android (2.2 Froyo and above) and Windows Phone 8.
ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have their own on-demand platforms available both online and via a series of mobile apps. ITV hopes to launch a pay-per-download service on mobile phones later this year after its service proved popular with the desktop version.
Update: TVCatchUp has announced on Twitter that things will remain the same, proudly declaring that “we’re going nowhere.”
When asked if it would continue to have the same content line up, including ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 shows, TVCatchUp’s Twitter account said “we are continuing with the same channel lineup.”
The account tweeted a link to a forum post from 2008, the wording of which is virtually identical to the press release put out today.
“We thrive on these challenges and are fully prepared and not too concerned with the one-sided reporting as we know the truth,” the account added. More on this as and when we get it…