The TV Now aftermath

The football codes seem to have won over the prime minister on copyright reform. On Twisted Wire this week, we ask, “isn’t it all a bit of a knee-jerk reaction?”

National Rugby League (NRL) CEO David Gallop was in Canberra this week campaigning to have the law changed to block Optus’ ability to enable footie games to be relayed to your mobile device. It cuts across a live-streaming agreement that the code has with Telstra.

Naturally, Optus says its intention was always to deliver convenience to customers. Clare Gill, general manager for Government and Corporate Affairs, says that it’s a natural extension of convergence. She says that Optus is acting within the law, pointing to the memorandum of the 2006 amendment to copyright law, which refers specifically to the use of digital devices.

Kim Heitman, secretary of Electronic Frontiers Australia, says this is an important case that impacts every sort of broadcasted content. In the podcast, I ask him how far the repercussions of this court case could stretch — could I set up a website, funded by advertising and filled with TV and radio content, with the argument that this is mere time shifting and for the consumer’s own personal use?

If the prime minister kow-tows to the footie codes’ demands to change the law, is there a danger that it will be nothing more than a stop-gap measure? Won’t another unforeseen situation, brought about by technology, create another challenge to existing copyright law? Isn’t there a need for someone to develop broad principles that can create more meaningful regulatory reform? We ask John Stanton whether the body looking at it should be the Communications Alliance.

First published on ZDNet

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