Australian Network Says Electronic Publishing Guide Violates Their Copyright

from the but-of-course dept

With media companies in the US choking off TiVo's freedom to innovate, it's no surprise to see similar stories around the globe. Ivars writes in to point out that Australian TV company Nine Networks has decided to sue a startup who makes electronic program guides, citing copyright infringement. The startup, IceTV makes electronic program guides that make it easier for people to turn computers into more fully functional TiVo-like DVRs. Nine Networks apparently doesn't like that, because like too many TV industry execs, its execs fear "time shifting" and the fact that it could lead people to (*gasp!*) skip commercials. Of course, this is fighting the tide, but considering they have the money to do so (and the startup doesn't), it seems worth their effort. That's short term thinking, likely to be defeated in the long term, but no one ever accused entertainment execs of being good about long term strategy. It's unclear what the specifics of Australian law are, and how they apply to this case, but it seems fairly ridiculous that something like a TV schedule (factual information about the date and time when a certain TV show will air) can be protected by copyright. It's not as if the networks need extra incentives to create the artistic work that is the network TV schedule. Of course, here in the US, we had a similar battle that went down over patent lines, as Gemstar claimed to own a patent on interactive program guides, which kept the actual networks out of the battle and simply wasted the time of everyone else. As an editorial in Australia notes on the latest case, it's all of the viewers who lose out -- and that's hardly the point of intellectual property protection.

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  • identicon
    claire rand, 17 Oct 2006 @ 4:54am

    ...

    i could have sworn that once the time table is published *anyone* can re-print that information, but reviews, comment etc on the programs are a no-no, as probably are any pictures used. but the basic info should be ok.

    this sort of stuff pops up from time to time, i think the UK lottery had an 'issue' with networks other than the BBC relaying the winning numbers as they came on screen.

    i can see why the tv types are scared.. if people get this stuff on line not only will they skip adverts on telly, they'll miss the rubbish in the tv mags

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      jsnbase, 17 Oct 2006 @ 8:14am

      Re: ...

      How would reviews or comments constitute copyright violation?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Scott, 17 Oct 2006 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re: ...

        Because review and comment are creations, no different than your post here. That you posted is not protected, what you posted is.

        The guide is merely fact, the review or comment would be opinion of the writer.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          jsnbase, 17 Oct 2006 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re: ...

          The implication in #1 is that the network would have an infringement case if someone reviewed or commented on their programming. That doesn't make any sense under my limited understanding (the NFL's 'accounts' clause notwithstanding.)

          You are answering a different question.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Nobody, 17 Oct 2006 @ 12:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: ...

            That is not how I read it. Some guides have comments in the guide, I know Comcast used to have this on PPV(maybe all movies), might have been a test.

            The guide information Name, Date, Time, and Description would not be protected, but the movie comments would be.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        claire rand, 17 Oct 2006 @ 1:28pm

        Re: Re: ...

        as in copying the reviews etc.. if you 'review' the whatever yourself, or just plain comment then run with it.. your comments are then *your* copyright

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 17 Oct 2006 @ 5:17am

    Microsoft

    I wanna see these people sue Microsoft for doing the exact same thing with there Windows Media Center
    (I also like how I spell checked and "wanna" was OK)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jesse McNelis, 17 Oct 2006 @ 5:36am

    bah! soon companies are going to say that they are they only ones that can make a specific factual chemical compound. :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peet McKimmie (profile), 17 Oct 2006 @ 5:49am

    ITV have found a way to combat this in the UK

    ...by starting programmes thre minutes before they're scheduled to, switching programmes over at the last second and generally dicking around they've rendered all forms of TV schedule redundant. :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sanguine Dream, 17 Oct 2006 @ 6:03am

      Re: ITV have found a way to combat this in the UK

      I think that directv is starting to do something like that here in the states as well. There have been times where I would set my TiVo to record something and when I go back to watch it later its a totally different program. If it only happened a few times I'd overlook it but it seems to happen more and more often these. And the shame it I bought my TiVo box from directv...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike F.M, 17 Oct 2006 @ 5:58am

    Hmm

    It will be interesting to see how this one turns out. If they do win, I wonder if it will spur other similar tv companies to go after the larger players such as M$...but I doubt they will.

    Eventually all of the tv and music companies will have to start looking longer-term and actually doing things that consumers might find helpful...wishful thinking

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob from Oz, 17 Oct 2006 @ 6:12am

    TV guide fiction

    "...that something like a TV schedule (factual information about the date and time when a certain TV show will air) can be protected by copyright." Anyone who watches commercial television in Australia can tell you that the published TV guide information from the networks are a work of fiction anyway (and hence under copyright!)

    TV viewers here long for factual information about dates and times. Unlike ITV in the UK, the start and finish times for Australian TV shows are more typically either late or very late. Series episodes are often run out of order, or not at all. The only thing you can rely on is the frequency of the ads.

    More seriously, it will be an interesting battle. I believe it has long been assumed that the TV guide information is copyright here (in Australia), but that has not really been tested - and the guide information is widely disseminated in unaffiliated paper-based guides.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stevo, 17 Oct 2006 @ 6:20am

    hear in Tasmania a state of Australia .on digital tv it only displays what's on now and next, i though this was due to laziness on the networks behalf but after reading this it is clear why they do that. but although having a digitalized guide would help with automation no having it will not stop it. u can still set up a hdd recorder with a time delay like u can with a vcr all they are achieving is making it harder for the consumer to do what they want and turns them against the network and in the end not watch there shows at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Faz, 17 Oct 2006 @ 7:35am

    hmm

    Does any one ever think how comfortable it is for a person like me to get a TV guide schedule on my digital crappy Comcast. helps me plan my slow evenings and tune into shows I like.. helps me relax.. but no... why, why would a big TV company ever think of comfort for a poor sod like me... why... oh lord.. me being comfortable might make me loyal to some TV shows... and since ill never miss them... ads can not be shown to me.. woahh...

    freaking idiots

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 17 Oct 2006 @ 7:47am

    Comcast, Direct TV?

    Comcast doesn't put out the shows it just plays them. Yell at these nine networks people or other channels for doing this early or delayed showings and not showing the correct shows or suing guide companies or other crap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sanguine Dream, 17 Oct 2006 @ 8:34am

      Re: Comcast, Direct TV?

      That may be true. Cuz if directv tried a delay on a big show like perhaps Heroes then you can safely bet that NBC was sue them into oblivion...unless they are in on it. The problem is that networks are now more concerned with making money on ads than they are with trying keep good shows on the air. And considering the downwrd spiral that the quality of shows is going into these days can the networks really afford to spend its time and money on making sure the viewers are forced to watch ads.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2006 @ 8:31am

    I think this problem was solved in The Truman Show...proper product placement can make up for commercials. A show's "catalogue" of items for sale, brands of clothes, types of cars electronics etc...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Noel, 14 Oct 2011 @ 1:14am

    Since internet is one of the powerful media,comcast is one of the great tool to use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joy, 21 Dec 2011 @ 12:38am

    I don't like watching TV because of the commercials that they put. Sometimes they put too much Ads and it seems like they're even longer now than the TV show.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nicole, 14 Jan 2012 @ 12:01pm

    How can a TV Guide violate copyright?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Katherine, 3 Feb 2012 @ 9:44pm

    TV Guides are very helpful especially if you are not the type that sits in front of the TV the whole day. This way, you just turn on your TV when you know your favorite TV show is showing already.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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