U.S. broadcasters still want the courts to pull the plug on Aereo, the streaming service that they say violates their copyrights. In a similar fight in the UK, broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 today won a victory over TVCatchup.com, a service that streams free-to-air shows from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice said websites that retransmit live TV without permission from the broadcasters are in breach of copyright. The case was spurred by an earlier one brought in London which sought the higher court’s take in 2011. The broadcasters in question alleged, among other things, that TVC’s retransmissions constitute a ‘communication to the public’ which is prohibited both by national law and by an EU Directive. The ECJ today agreed (read the ruling here).
In a statement, the ECJ said today, “EU law seeks to establish a high level of protection for authors of works, allowing them to obtain an appropriate reward for the use of those works including on the occasion of communication to the public. To that end, authors have an exclusive right to authorize or prohibit any communication of their works to the public.” Under a 2001 law, original broadcasters are “authors” of their programming. READ MORE »