back to article Optus trumps Telstra in war for digital PVR freedom

Optus has vanquished Telstra and its claims on a multi million dollar rights deal for the online broadcasting of National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL) footage. Telstra, the NRL and AFL have vowed that the matter is far from over and will appeal the landmark decisions. Using hackneyed sporting …


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  1. ceebee

    if only...

    This decision has big consequences for copyright/exclusive content deals for the telcos in Oz. But then maybe it would be easier if those fancy smartphones and fondleslabs had tv tuners built in (it is 2012 after all how hard can it be!) ..but wait then all that video stuff would not be eating into your data quota...mmm

    1. Graham Wilson

      @ceebee - Correct, copyright law in the digital age is a bloody shambles.

      ..And we, the poor long-suffering consumers, have to put up with this nonsense, not to mention be forced to pay more for it.

      You're right, if--err sorry, when--the law nukes Optus' win then it'll be just a matter of time before all the smart phones get inbuilt tuners with recording facilities.

      As I said in a post further on, I expect Optus to lose on appeal (and, if by some strange fluke, it were to win the appeal then Telstra and its cronies--with help from the Oz/US Free Trade Agreement (and all that mob)--will simply dictate to Canberra what the the new wording of the Copyright Act should be.

      Naturally, Canberra will do their bidding without a whimper.

      Nevertheless, the whole fucking exercise and changes to the law will be a farce--as yet once again--technology will have bypassed the whole damn issue!

  2. John Tserkezis

    Boo Hoo, some football suits have their underpants in a twist.

    All because a small subset of their users are capable of skipping ads now.

  3. iwebster

    isn't this piracy.......

    Surely if I was to rebroadcast in any format, ie record and then email a copy to a friend, this would be considered copyright piracy?

    Foxtel for a long time couldn't rebroadcast channel 7s and 10s digital channels until they had an agreement. Surely the AFL and NRL as copyright holders should be able to stipulate how it is shown. Telstra payed a hefty AU$150million for the right to the online content, channel 7 payed a heap more to show every game live. Surely Channel 7 haven't been consulted? I wouldn't think Optus would play the matches with channel 7 ads left in?

    Bugger it i'm going make my own app to do this to all my favourite shows that i can't watch when i'm home.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      My reading of the article is that Optus are providing you with a video recorder. YOU program what you want it to record, so that YOU can watch it later at a time more convienient to you. It says that the copyright laws allow for this, so no problem there.

      Now it also seems that the video recorder that Optus provides is based at their facilities, but then the copyright law probably does not specify where exactly the video recorder has to be placed. Hence nothing seems to have been done wrongly.

      1. Graham Wilson
        Thumb Up

        @BristolBachelor - Right but watch the shit-fight that'll follow.

        As I've said elsewhere, if Optus eventually loses and has to ditch its recorder (which is what I expect will happen), then smartphones will just acquire their own tuners and recorders.

        What a farce.

    2. Graham Wilson

      @iwebster -- And why not eh?

      ...And donate me a copy of the app (so as I won't have to pirate it).


  4. conhoolio

    There's an app for that

    This isn't about Optus, really. Even if Telstra, the AFL and NRL completely get their way, winning their court cases, getting the Copyright act changed in their favor and millions of dollars continue to be exchanged in pursuit of "exclusive" internet rights, how are they going to stop me from connecting my phone to my home set top box via the internet? I don't need a middleman to view broadcast tv on my phone.

    1. Geoff Lamb

      But you will need to have foxtel at home. This allows Optus to 'tape' the shows that are only on foxtel to people who do not subscribe to foxtel (sky equiv)

      This breaks the pay tv model

      1. MrDamage

        Re-read the article.

        It clearly states that the Optus facility allows people to record what is broadcast on free to air channels, not what is broadcast in the pay-tv (foxtel) channels.

        Foxtel is getting involved because they paid a fortune in getting the exclusive rights for internet based broadcasts, and they see Optus's use of the internet to deliver this service to their customers as infringing upon their exclusive deal.

  5. Graham Wilson

    Here we go again! It's this sort of shit that's the controversial center of modern copyright law.

    The background


    1. All radio frequency-based broadcasting services have specifically defined service [reception coverage] areas. These physical service areas are so defined for essentially two reasons:

    (a) it's the maximum area physics (and practical engineering) will allow to be covered (broadcast to) from a single transmitter and where the reception of the signal remains viable.

    (b) alternatively, a service area is defined as a geographical or demographic area, town, city etc. which needs to be covered by a broadcast service. If one transmitter cannot cover this area then relay services are employed to fill in the gaps. For example, where I live the all-encompassing region is called the 'Sydney Statistical District', which subdivides logically into smaller physical and demographic areas.

    In the service area schema population numbers are key, it determines:

    (a) the cost of the broadcast licences (i.e. the price of each channel of radio spectrum),

    (b) advertising rates and income revenues, and,

    (c) the number of separate broadcast channels actually available, these may be limited by physical spectrum [channel] availability or politically by existing broadcasters arguing about possible loss of financial viability if too many channels are made available in a specific area.

    (d) the royalty rates for broadcasting copyrighted materials to a specific demographic within this specific area.


    1. Graham Wilson

      @ Graham Wilson -- Here we go again! ... part 2

      [El Reg. Geez this new 2k-character post limit is a damn pain. Please go back to previous]

      2. Many Geographical or demographic areas exist over a country: London, Manchester, Edinburgh; Sydney, Melbourne; New York, Boston etc., thus spectrum licensing, advertising charges--the complete holus bolus--can be repeated many times over in different area with the either the same or different players.

      3. Essentially, this is how the commercial world has divvied up the finances, rights management and everything else since broadcasting's year-dot. It's area and demographic based which means under copyright law you can and have to count the numbers of those consuming copyrighted material.

      4. The Internet fucks up this cosy area-based arrangement which has existed for the past 100 years:

      (a) as Internet listeners/viewers/users can be located anywhere, or

      (b) grouped by blocks of IP addresses, or,

      (c) grouped by ISP or some other specific category.

      Therefore, those who receive broadcasts outside traditionally allocated service areas are deemed to be freebie interlopers and copyright violators as they've not paid royalties (or the broadcasters haven't paid the royalties for them as has been traditional practice).

      5. Unlike traditional broadcasting where broadcasters pay royalties based on estimated numbers and surveys, Internet copyright royalties are more precise as they're:

      (a) based on specific numbers across the whole Internet (royalties all being the same), or

      (b) negotiated as a block amount by a specific network, ISP or owner (here it's Telstra), or

      (c) negotiated by country (charged by the ability to pay--rich countries charged large amounts, poor countries by a lesser amount and so on).

      1. Graham Wilson

        @ Graham Wilson -- Here we go again! ... part 3

        6. What's happened in the last 30/40 years has been the hijacking of news events (sport etc.)--once considered in the public domain--into private ownership, and this hijack has been aided and abetted by copyright law. Copyright law has forced commercialisation onto many aspects of human activity where it once never existed, the commercialisation of sport being one of the most notable and significant.

        The intensive commercialisation of sport has actually changed our culture. And whether it be for better or worse, at no time in history has there ever been a public debate let alone a consensus about whether copyright law (law created for a different purpose), should be allowed to bleed over into and affect areas of traditional human activity such as culture and recreation etc., thus effectively change society as a consequence.

        Of course, in Australia, Telstra--that cesspool created out of government greed--would naturally gravitate into these murky areas of law. Copyright law and the government sale of Telstra are both illustrative of how society can suffer when laws are not properly thought through and the carpetbaggers who passed them into law are only interested in the monetary aspects of these laws.

        Here, in Australia, the concept that I've just elucidated would, for most, be incomprehensible. Therefore, expect this win for Optus to be overturned on appeal. If, strangely, the appeal were to fail, then the lobbying orgy in Canberra will be revolting and truly sickening (don't even contemplate it if you've a weak stomach).

        Never will the natural order of things in Australia be allowed to change just because someone accidentally made a correct decision.

  6. Antti Roppola
    Thumb Up

    Give people a reasonable option

    In some countries, for the price of a PVR you can subscribe to a web based service that records all the free to air shows for you in a PVR like manner. People I know have adopted it because the annual subscription is well worth the hassle of not having to remember to record/download/store things. Presumably content providers get a slice of that revenue. As far as I can tell, everyone is happy.

    About the only thing it doesn't do is stop you from ripping off the advertiser by going to the loo in the ad breaks.

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