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Big Media and Big Telcos Getting Nasty In Landmark Australian Law Case

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the settle-this-with-a-cage-match dept.

Television 77

Fluffeh writes "In Australia, we have the right to record TV and play it back at a later date; we also have the right to transcode from one format to another, so anyone with a media server can legally back up their entire DVD collection and watch it without all those annoying warnings and unskippable content — as long as we don't break encryption (please stop laughing!). Optus, Australia's second largest Telco, has been raising ire though with the new TV Now service they are offering and Big Media is having a hissy fit. The service does the recording on behalf of the customer. Seems like a no-brainer right? Let the customer do what they are allowed to legally do at home, but charge them for it. Everybody wins! Not according to Sports Broadcasters, who made this statement when Optus said they would appeal their recent loss in an Australian Court to the highest court in the land: 'They are a disgusting organization who is acting reprehensibly again and now putting more uncertainty into sports and broadcast rights going forward I'm really disappointed and disgusted in the comments of their CEO overnight.' Is this yet another case of Big Media clutching at an outdated business model, or should consumers be content with just doing their own work?"

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77 comments

Wow! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013681)

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You're saying MyCleanPC is for wife beaters? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013761)

Get some better spamvertising dude.

Re:Wow! (1)

stainlesssteelpat (905359) | more than 2 years ago | (#40015449)

I wish i had mod points.

Hew, hew, hew! (-1, Offtopic)

thomsonjones (2639465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013687)

A few weeks ago, I foolishly ran a strange executable file that one of my acquaintances sent me by email. As someone who doesn't know much about computers, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would my acquaintance want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I ran the file without question.

How naive I was. Despite having what was supposedly the best anti-virus software out right then, a virus took over my computer and held it hostage. It was pretending to be a warning from Windows telling me to buy some strange anti-virus software I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of to remove the virus.

This immediately set alarm bells off in my head. "How could this happen? My anti-virus is supposed to be second to none!" Faced with this harsh reality, I decided to take it to a PC repair shop for repair. They gladly accepted the job, told me it'd be fixed in a few days, and sent me off with a smile.

A few days later, they called me and told me to come pick up my computer. At the time, I noticed that they sounded like whimpering animals, but I concluded that it must just be stress from work. When I arrived, they, with tears in their eyes, told me that the virus was so awful and merciless that they were unable to remove it. "Ah," I thought. "That must be why they sounded so frustrated and pathetic over the phone. Their failure must have truly ruined their pride as professionals." I later found out that two of them had committed suicide.

After returning home, I tried to fix it myself (despite the fact that even the professionals couldn't do it). After about a day or so, I was losing my very mind. I stopped going to work, stopped eating, was depressed, and I would very frequently throw my precious belongings across the room and break them; that is how bad this virus was.

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Re:Hew, hew, hew! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013705)

In other news:-

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Baked Beans & Spam.

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013709)

I tried this product. It wreaked my computer. And all the computers in my household and then in my neighbourhood.
My neighbours hate me, and i had to move. I lost my job and then my wife and family.
I am now homeless and am writing this on a public computer, but i fear MyCleanPC has now infected it.

Stay away from this product, or you will lose everything.

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013995)

I am thinking of getting this product, running it, and then taking it to a lawyer so that they can repair it. Worth a shot...

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014027)

I tried this product. It wreaked my computer. And all the computers in my household and then in my neighbourhood. My neighbours hate me, and i had to move. I lost my job and then my wife and family. I am now homeless and am writing this on a public computer, but i fear MyCleanPC has now infected it.

Stay away from this product, or you will lose everything.

I tried this product a few years ago. I ten accessed my home banking site. All my money was stolen. But that's not the worst of it. The MyCleanPC trojan spread from my PC to the bank's mainframe - then via inter-bank payments to the world stock markets. It completely wrecked the economy. The big secret they are not telling us is that the financial slump was caused by MyCleanPC.

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (0)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014051)

This is where the moderation on /. utterly fails. By virtue of the parent post being modded +5 I am forced to expand the GP to get context. Now that undoes the -1 moderation of the GP.

How am I ever to get through the morning if I'm tricked into reading -1 posts...

I firmly believe that the AC is the same poster as the GP, using this tactic to get us to read the spam post through the use of humor.

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014251)

Damn, I was tricked into reading GGP by wondering what the hell your post was about.

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40020795)

It wreaked your computer? And I thought I had fat fingerz! But I did find one line in the spam you parody to be hilarious: "How could this happen? My anti-virus is supposed to be second to none!" So... if you have no AV, that's better than your AV? No wonder you got pwned!

Would you buy an AV product on the advice of someone who was pwned so easily? I'm having a hard time figuring out if the GP was spam or just an idiot trying to be funny.

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (-1, Troll)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40016181)

A few weeks ago, I foolishly ran a strange executable file that one of my acquaintances sent me by email with the subject line "Die and get AIDS". As someone who doesn't know much about AIDS, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would my acquaintance want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I ran the file without question.

How naive I was. Despite having what was supposedly the best anti-virus software out right then, a virus took over my computer and held it hostage. It was pretending to be a warning from Windows telling me to buy some strange anti-virus software I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of to remove the virus (an incredibly nasty thing called "Parity Boot B").

This immediately set alarm bells off in my head. "How could this happen? I don't even run Windows and this is an ARM box!" Faced with this harsh unreality, I decided to take it to a PC repair shop for repair. They gladly accepted the job, told me it'd be fixed in a few days, and sent me off with a smile.

A few days later, they called me and told me to come pick up my computer. At the time, I noticed that they sounded like whimpering animals, but I concluded that it must just be stress from work. When I arrived, they, with tears in their eyes, told me that they had found my porn folder and were now getting out of the tech business to become monks. "Ah," I thought. "That was to be expected but they could've at least cleaned up the virus." I later found out that all but two of them had committed suicide.

After returning home, I tried to fix it myself (despite the fact that even the professionals couldn't do it). After about a day or so, I was losing my very mind. I stopped going to work, stopped eating, was depressed, and I would very frequently throw my precious belongings across the room and break them; that's actually because I read a review of Diablo III but the virus didn't help.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [schmuckbait.com] ! I installed MyCleanPC [schmuckbait.com] , ran a scan, and let it remove all the system files! They were removed in precisely 2.892 seconds. Wow! Such a thing! I can't even believe this as such never before! MyCleanPC [schmuckbait.com] is outstanding! After the reinstall, my computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [schmuckbait.com] came through with flying colors where no one else could!

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MyCleanPC: Because I'm getting paid for this. [schmuckbait.com]

Re:Hew, hew, hew! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40021319)

Oops, sorry, I hit the black flag by mistake. Thought you were the spammer again, when you were just parodying him.

Too bad that black flag won't kill the slashcode bugs...

What a bootysnap you have there! (-1, Offtopic)

LittleMand (2640051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013693)

Well, to begin, I'm just your average guy. But unlike your average guy, I once had everything anyone could ever want: a gorgeous wife, a beautiful two-story house, an adorable seven year old daughter, a stable job, and a nice salary. Basically, I was living the American dream. None of my needs or wants were left unfulfilled. The family always got along, and everything was perfect.

Until one day, that is. Following one of my routine doctor appointments, my doctor informed me that I had lung cancer and that I only had a few years to live at most. As you can imagine, I was shocked. Not just shocked; I could see all of my hopes and dreams being shattered right before my very eyes. Still, my doctor gave me hope by telling me that there was a chance, however slim, that Chemotherapy and various other things could help me. After speaking with my wife, I decided to receive the treatments.

All was not lost. I still had a perfect family that I could rely on and get emotional support from. I still had hope for the future. I'm a firm believer that you should make the best of things rather than wallow in depression. I had to press on: not just for my sake, but for the sake of my loved ones. But my strong resolve was soon shattered.

The family I thought I could count on betrayed me. My wife, whom I loved deeply, filed for a divorce. She said that she could not handle the emotional trauma of being with someone who had cancer. She apologized profusely, but no matter what I said, I could not change her mind. I screamed, I cried, and I begged her to rethink her decision, but it was all to no avail.

In my madness, I made all kinds of accusations. I said that she was cheating on me, that she never loved me, that she just married me for my money, and various other things. I soon learned, however, that a few of those were more than just baseless accusations. I began stalking her, going through all of her personal possessions, and trying uncover any secrets she may have been keeping. What I discovered horrified me: she had been cheating on me with another man for the past year. She must have been waiting for an opportune time to abandon me for this other man.

When confronted about her betrayal, she screamed at me, told me it was none of my business, told me that I was always a worthless husband, and told me that I was an abusive man. I soon discovered that there was absolutely nothing that I could do. My marriage was in shambles, and by this point, I was on the brink of suicide. The only thing keeping me going was my devotion to my precious daughter.

It wasn't long before I received news from my insurance company that they were getting rid of my coverage. They gave me multitudes of vague and bogus reasons, but anyone could figure out their true reason: they did not want to waste money on a dying man. Naturally, I planned to fight this with every fiber of my being, but I knew it would be a long, drawn out process.

In the span of a year, I went from a very happy man who had everything he wanted to a miserable shell of what I once was. I couldn't take it anymore. Despite the fact that I wanted to remain in this world for the sake of my daughter, I tried committing suicide four times. All four attempts failed. I needed something to take my misery, regret, and anger out on. First I began verbally abusing my daughter. It wasn't long before I began physically abusing her. Sometimes I did it with my bare hands, and other times I used various objects. Beating my daughter soon became my only pleasure. My life had spiraled out of control into a den of anguish, uncertainty, and madness.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . I downloaded it, scanned my computer, and had it fix all of my problems. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever!

My wife's response? "MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colours where no one else could!"

My daughter was absolutely overjoyed. As soon as she heard and saw just how effective MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] was, she told everyone, "MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my dad's system and increased his speed!"

If you're having computer troubles, I highly recommend you download MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] and run a free scan. It's a high-quality piece of software that will solve all of your problems. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] completely saved my life! Wow! Thanks MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] ! I love you MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] !

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Sport? (2, Funny)

marxz (971164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013711)

I've heard of that...
that people want to to watch it, let alone record it is beyond me.

(also two spam posts above me ... for mycleanPC... malware - they do realise their wasting their spambots posting that crud on slashdot no?

Re:Sport? (1)

stainlesssteelpat (905359) | more than 2 years ago | (#40015517)

When mycleanPC cleans your airspace you get bigger and faster *WOOSH*!

Broadcast rights (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013723)

Does Optus have broad enough rights in its broadcast license terms from the content producers to essentially rebroadcast content on an on-demand basis, because that is what they are essentially doing. There is a difference between the customer recording it and the telco doing it for them, as one involves rebroadcasting of the content and the other does not.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013753)

Depends on how you define broadcast I guess as you could argue that they are not broadcasting in the network sense, rather they are are uni-casting it, or streaming it for the customer much as if the customer recorded it themselves, uploaded it to a server and then streamed it to a device. You could even say that if you are using a clever file system that can recognize when the same file is stored and only saves one copy (like certain virtualization technologies do with memory) then even if multiple users uploaded the same file it would end up being a single file that is then "broadcast". Without knowing the letter of the law I'd say this one of those areas where what technology can do has outstripped what was clearly in the original laws. Although I have not used the technology, and am not particularly a fan of Optus, I would be sad to see them lose this as I think this kind of innovation is what we need to keep content creators and broadcasters on their toes.

Re:Broadcast rights (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013787)

This seems to be a common situation in law. Goal A can be accomplished by methods B and C, which are functionally identically and have exactly the same end result, yet B is legal while C is not. Such untidyness is unavoidable at time.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013919)

It is not that simple. The law allows small-scale mucking around at home, because it cause no damage to anyone. The thought is that as long as you do not do it on a commercial basis and disrupt the "outdated" money-for-TV business model, you do no real harm and should be allowed to do it.

The moment you go commercial with your aroundmucking, you should follow other rules.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40016809)

IIRC law doesn't allow third parties to do any transcoding nor format shift here in Italy.

So everybody wastes time, cpu cycles, electricity, to obtain handy versions of their own stuff.

In a world that taxes CO2 emissions, this sounds like a joke. Can you prove ownership? then you should be able to legally download whatever version has equal or lower quality.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013799)

No, because broadcasting mean sending it out (or making available) essentially to everyone. This would seem (without looking at more than the summary) to be more narrow-casting, and at that narrow-casting of a received broadcast, limited to those subscribers. Essentially, it's outsourcing the transcoding and perhaps storage of the broadcast - what would traditionally occur on a PVR, for example. I presume the output of the service is available via the 'net on mobile devices, a function typically not available on PVRs.

It would be done, by the sounds of it, without any broadcast rights involved, and presumably those buying and/or selling the rights are wingeing. I'd imagine that skipping the ads (what you insert into a broadcast to make money on it after buying the rights) on a streaming version of the media would be harder than the equivalent record-and-transfer at home, and it's really unlikely that Optus is removing ads, so it would seem the broadcasters would probably be benefited, if there is in fact any real difference at all. Of course logic rarely comes into these things, since control, disadvantaging everyone else regardless of market sphere, and the occasional corporate phallus-measuring contest are the real issues at hand I expect.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40015573)

Try telling these content owners and broadcasters that unicast is not broadcast. They won't hear you. "Bits on the wire" (or in the air) are "broadcast" to them. Explain the difference between unicast and broadcast and they stick their fingers in their ears and yell LALALALALALALA (I guess they kind of ululate). They will do everything in their power to get anything that is transmitted to be called "broadcast" whether it fits the meaning of broadcast or not. Obviously because the laws give them some say over broadcast rights and doesn't give them control of it if it is called something different. Is there a practical difference between streaming media from a media server in your house to a single device and streaming the same thing from a service provider to that same device? No. But they won't hear you.

Both a unicast and a broadcast are transmissions (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40020213)

"Bits on the wire" (or in the air) are "broadcast" to them.

That's because the law in some countries is written such that a "transmission" (or a "digital transmission") is special. Both a unicast and a broadcast are transmissions.

Is there a practical difference between streaming media from a media server in your house to a single device and streaming the same thing from a service provider to that same device?

Yes: it's a digital transmission from the premises.

Re:Broadcast rights (2)

jimbirch (2621059) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013827)

Well... that's what the legal cases have been trying to decide. The telco does NOT (re) broadcast it. It provides a remote recording service. It records a copy for each subscriber then transmits that specific copy to the subscriber who requested it. It's not that different to programming your home PVR from work, except that there is a system capable of doing it in bulk... Australian law says you can record your own copy of a broadcast program for your own replay but you can't then sell it to a third party. The single copy for each subscriber is designed to fit that definition. Whether this is an artifice or not, whether it is in effect the telco recording and selling it, are the legal questions. So far, the lower court says it's ok, middle court says not, now heading to the top of the list, the Australian High Court. If the High Court says ok, the content owners may lobby the parliament.

Re:Broadcast rights (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014219)

A little slippery. The teleco can do one thing that big media fear. They can buy a licence to the content and then distribute it as long as only one person sees it at a time, they only need one licence. Of course they can use computers to slice up the original content into ten of thousands of slices and only distribute one particular slice at a time, one licence thousands of end users, technically legal.

Overiding everything is of course ultimately the true value of that content to society is it a negative or a positive this versus the value of an open internet is it a negative or a positive. On the whole today's content is honestly pretty much a negative all about nothing but greed and PR=B$ marketing no real value at all. An open internet is of course blatantly obviously of immense value, open up politics, enriching democracy, spreading knowledge and education, driving participation rather than spectating, huge productivity and energy savings etc. etc.

So the real decision here is whether todays politicians will sell out the future in order to have their ego's stroked by funder's of the RIA*/MPA*, revolving around sex, drugs, holidays and straight up tax haven bribes.

Re:Broadcast rights (2)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014565)

This case has nothing to do with the RIAA or MPAA or slicing up content.

What it is about is that Telstra (biggest carrier in the country) has paid millions for the rights to broadcast AFL and NRL (2 of the most popular sports in the country) on mobile and now Telstra along with the sports leagues are annoyed that people can get these sports matches from another carrier without that carrier paying for it.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013831)

More just a codec tunnel from your sofa area box to your tablet, cell or laptop on the go. A VNC with a good codec and useful gui?
Optus wins with branding, a monthly data rate and getting a long term lock in bundle with your home phone/adsl/optical, cell.
It will be fun after optical rolls out and quality US codecs are used, from a US studio to your sofa via a box from Apple or MS or Sony.
Classification will be the only time sensitive issue - it will be fun to see what the middle interests living of UK, US content and sport do :)

Re:Broadcast rights (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013899)

Broadcast rights are probably neither here nor there.

Copyright law gives me certain rights to make copies for home use. Optus is no more entitled to copy "on my behalf" than they are to vote on my behalf. Just because I can do something doesn't mean Optus can do it for me, even if the end result is roughly the same thing. The mechanism by which the end result is achieved is important because it's precisely the mechanism (ie the act of copying) that the law addresses.

I don't understand what Optus is doing. If they win then they will have no long term competitive advantage because their competitors could then do it too. It seems to be all risk with no real reward.

Worse still, not only are they risking themselves but they risk damaging regular people too. The law they are trying to use clearly intends to allow people reasonable rights for themselves in their own homes, not support commercial copying. If the court ultimately does somehow come down on their side (difficult to imagine but anything is possible) then it won't be long before copyright law is altered to close the loophole. Any change to the law (no doubt made with "industry input") to stop what Optus is doing might tread on peoples rights too. (Eg is the law specifically addressed transmission that might stop me legally being able to push content from my own PVR to my own phone).

Optus is no friend of the people here, they are just trying to make a quick buck.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014193)

Optus is no more entitled to copy "on my behalf" than they are to vote on my behalf.

Except that in the UK - and therefore probably also in Australia - you can permit someone else to vote on your behalf if you are unable to (proxy voting). Obviously, doing so removes *your* right to vote, but that bit of the law is less critical when you're talking about watching the football a couple of hours later than it was broadcast rather than electing your government.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014223)

Are you saying I can't hire a servant who'd work in my house to transcode (that is, put the dvd in, press some buttons, etc) a DVD for me?

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014339)

Maybe not legally, though the law does specifically allow for lending within a household so there may be more wiggle room for that scenario than in Optus' scenario.

Re:Broadcast rights (3, Insightful)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014241)

I don't understand what Optus is doing. If they win then they will have no long term competitive advantage because their competitors could then do it too. It seems to be all risk with no real reward.

What Optus (big nasty Telco) is doing is getting around a monopoly on broadcasting rights that Telstra (other big nasty Telco) bought from the AFL & NRL (Australian football sports leagues) . It has the potential to save them millions in broadcasting license fees just by facilitating a service and saying "we are not doing anything illegal its the customer who wants to time-shift the broadcast". Can you imagine all the "poor" (he he) footballers not getting paid the "big bucks" if this is allowed to go through ? You have to give Optus points for "having the balls" to try it.

Re:Broadcast rights (2)

mdragan (1166333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014983)

Maybe there is an important lesson to be learned here: if users shouldn't be able to sell their rights of making copies, then the copyright holder shouldn't be able to sell their monopoly rights either. Otherwise the content creators can spread unfair advantages between players in another industry that is not creating content (only distributing).
So, a monopoly is the only way in which we can reward content creators, but is it ok if the creator can spread it in other areas of the economy where monopolies do great harm?

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014319)

Copyright law gives me certain rights to make copies for home use. Optus is no more entitled to copy "on my behalf"

Where in the law does it say so? They would make a copy specifically for you, with an antenna, receiver, and hard drive space reserved just for you. Where exactly is the line where "a copy for home use" is stepped over? If you borrow someones VCR? If you ask a third person to program it for you? Would you be allowed to lend the recorded Tape to a friend (this is not an issue here)?

I don't understand what Optus is doing.

They already invested in equipment and marketing for this service, they are trying to get some return for the investment. I assume the court+lawyers are more reasonably priced in Australia than in the US, so that it's economically sensible for them to carry on.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014555)

Where in the law does it say so?

I think the question is reversed, what in the law [austlii.edu.au] gives them the right? However, even if you do somehow stretch (1) and (2) to allowing Optus then 3(d) would probably take it away as Optus is distributing the recording from them to you.

If you borrow someones VCR?

Nothing wrong with that.

If you ask a third person to program it for you?

Probably not legal unless they are family or a member of your household.

Would you be allowed to lend the recorded Tape to a friend

Probably not legal.

I understand what Optus is doing now, what I don't understand is why they thought it was a good idea in the first place.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40017603)

Thanks for the link. I'd say there's no stretching involved. I assume that the Optus situation could be contrued to mean that the recording equipment and media are "owned" and controlled by the end user. In that case, none of the exclusions of (3) apply, and the whole thing would be legal. I believe similar arguments prevailed for a similar service in Germany (where they actually had separate everything (antennae, receivers, storage) for the duration of the recording for each customer, and of course the laws, legal system and traditions there are entirely different).

(3) also wouldn't forbid passing a recorded tape to a friend (or anybody else), as long as nothing else is exchanged or expected from the receiver, and not re-broadcast or published from that copy.

Re:Broadcast rights (2)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014321)

You're being extraordinarily short-sighted here when you say "If they win they will have no long term competitive advantage". That line could have been erroneously applied to countless innovative and successful businesses. More importantly when efficiency and transparency increases in any market EVERYONE gains - except the entrenched middle-men who are squeezed out of existence. So unless you're employed by a big-media dinosaur you should welcome Optus putting the cat among the pigeons.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014377)

So unless you're employed by a big-media dinosaur you should welcome Optus putting the cat among the pigeons.

Bollocks, the only feasible outcome from Optus' being successful is more restrictive copyright law which is bad for everyone except the "big-media dinosaurs".

Such law has already been drafted [smh.com.au] and was ready to roll should Optus have won the last case.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014353)

Voting? What?? No. That's utterly confusing the issue. When an argument goes to a flawed analogy straight off the bat, it's usually because it lacks substance. Voting is nothing to do with this issue.

If the issue was as clear cut as you seem to think, they would not have won a Federal Court case allowing them to do this, and would not now be appealing its overturning in the High Court. Nor would politicians be looking to amend laws to favour Telstra.

No. It's not black and white at all. I am allowed to make recordings and play them back on any video playing device. I am also allowed to purchase personal data storage capacity from any supplier I choose. Presumably I may also purchase free to air broadcasting capability from any supplier I choose.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013999)

I have no problem with somebody recording free-to-air broadcasts with MythTV (or similar) then watching it later through their TV, computer, phone or what have you. It's called Fair Use and to enable the activity they have had to purchase at least some free-to-air equipment

I'd put Optus closer to the piracy camp here as not only are they charging people money for time shifting of sports broadcasts to their mobile phones, they are potentially allowing people to watch the sports broadcasts who might not have been able to do so otherwise. It's rebroadcasting plain and simple and actually requires a license, something Optus haven't signed-up for.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014389)

Does Optus have broad enough rights in its broadcast license terms from the content producers to essentially rebroadcast content on an on-demand basis, because that is what they are essentially doing. There is a difference between the customer recording it and the telco doing it for them, as one involves rebroadcasting of the content and the other does not.

They aren't rebroadcasting, BROADcasting is sending the same content out to a broad audience at the same time.

Streaming recorded broadcasts on demand to a single user is something totally different.

Re:Broadcast rights (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014655)

but, are they rebroadcasting it at all? or are they delivering it upon request to one individual? I station with an antenna broadcasts the signal to everyone capable of receiving that signal over the broadcast medium. Same with Cable, it's just a better contained medium. Oec you stop broadcasting, and you start delivering requested content, things have changed. or, at least, things should be considered to be different, whether or not they actually are in your particular jurisdiction.

Re:Broadcast rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40015157)

You do realise of course that Optus is re broadcasting the matches with just a two minute delay from live. This is what Telstra is really peeved about as they shelled out millions for the rights.

Hey Oz, your economy is growing and (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013785)

your constitution is weak. Prepare to be dominated by corporations.

Re:Hey Oz, your economy is growing and (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014409)

Constitution doesn't mean jack shit. Like someone famously said, "It's just a fucking piece of paper." What matters is the people. People who are willing to take action, who are educated and informed on the issues. If you don't have that, then corporations will be more than happy to stick that "strong constitution" right up your own arse holes.

Case in point: USA. Corporations have basically got your highest court to grant them all the rights of a human being, with none of the responsibilities or punishments. They've got them to equate the funding of propaganda campaigns on an industrial scale, with an individual's sacred right to have their own ideas and be heard. USA seemed to have a pretty damn strong constitution, but that doesn't help you now that you've let yourselves get fucked in the anus by it.

Is this yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013805)

"Is this yet another case of Big Media clutching at an outdated business model, or should consumers be content with just doing their own work?"

Both.

Last I checked... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013873)

It's legal to hire someone else to do pretty much anything you can legally do yourself - I don't see why this would be any different.

Re:Last I checked... (4, Insightful)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014231)

Do you think big content cares about what's legal and what isn't?

Re:Last I checked... (1)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014351)

Do you think big content cares about what's legal and what isn't?

Mod Parent post up +5 Insightful This is the real issue here .

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#40015311)

It's legal to hire someone else to do pretty much anything you can legally do yourself - I don't see why this would be any different.

Can you hire someone else to vote for you or give deposition in your place at a trial?

I'm not saying who's right and who's wrong here, but this is a bit of a grey area. IANAL but I can't recall any similar cases previously in any country.

Re:Last I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40016107)

In my country (BE), when you are unable to vote because for instance you are disabled and stuck in a bed, you can give someone else the right to vote in your place
And I think for the same reason a lawyer can take your deposition on paper with witness(es) present and co-signing and then proceed to present this in court

For those examples there are legal procedures already in place people can follow

Absentee ballot (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40020681)

In my country (BE), when you are unable to vote because for instance you are disabled and stuck in a bed, you can give someone else the right to vote in your place

Where I live, one votes by mail on an absentee ballot instead.

electrical permit (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40017451)

As a homeowner I can take out a permit from the power company and rewire my own house. Under the conditions of the permit, I cannot hire anyone to do the work for me.

The only legal alternative is to hire a certified electrician to do the work (in which case I don't need a permit).

Prostitution law (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40020659)

It's legal to hire someone else to do pretty much anything you can legally do yourself

You can give yourself a handjob [ytmnd.com] , but you can't hire a hooker to do the same.

Optus should pay a license (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013881)

If Optus wants to distribute works or broadcasts then let them pay a fee to the right's holders. If Optus won't pay then don't let them rebroadcast or distribute material that they don't own. If the right's holders don't want Optus selling their broadcasts for profit then don't let them either.

If people want to record shows or broadcasts on their own for home viewing then that is fine. No one is disputing that. It's not fine when a company is recording broadcasts that they don't own and then charging people to watch them. Producing broadcasts like sporting events costs a lot of money. I doubt that the companies that produce this content want other companies distributing their work without their permission.

It doesn't matter if people are ripping DVDs for home use or recording radio or TV broadcasts to watch later. But Optus was taking television broadcasts and basically streaming them online live.

Re:Optus should pay a license (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013927)

Its not "basically streaming" or "distribute" from one massive telco server room to many users. If you have a tv, your just watching the media you can for free at home from another location.
The "Your Television connects to your...via HDMI, composite video and component video cables" part makes that pretty simple to understand: its from "your" TV to "your" device.
Recording broadcasts is time shifting to fit around busy lifestyles. Any VCR or set top box seems to have set the legal condition to do that.
Charging people to watch them - you are paying for bandwidth to connect back to your home to do "something" with data files from a box in your home.
The data pipe to your phone is not free.
The same would apply for moving any data over most Australian mobile networks.

Re:Optus should pay a license - nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013967)

You can legally do the same with a VCR you've rented .....

Which is essentially what Optus is doing here.

Either time-shift or space-shift but not both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013895)

Let's think about it
a) you pay in advance for rights to broadcast (free to air) to entire country (and we're talking geographical footprint of USA here)
b) whilst the right to time-shift is commonly accepted, the presumption was that for individual within a small space (eg household)
c) so to be fair, if one entity buys the right to space shift, having another claim time-shifting across the whole country defeats the purpose

You can argue the minute details of the law but on an equitable basis you can't have someone having exclusive broadcast rights with the effective duplication after a (relatively) miniscule delay.

Re:Either time-shift or space-shift but not both (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013979)

The mistake you are making is in assuming the original 'rights to' being sold have any validity.

Tickets to the live game yes, immediate broadcast yes - anything time delayed - sucks to be you - it's a totally synthetic "right" there boyo, you have no way to actually enforce it - yes you can waste court time, but eventually you'll loose out to reality.

be nice (2)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013971)

I would be nice if the OP was objective about the situation. The issue is about who is doing the recording, and in this case it technically wasn't the user, it was found to be Optus. You can still record and view later on your own equipment, but the technical matter here is who is doing the recording, it is found to be Optus, not the user, so it may have been a bit grey but now a legal decision has been made. I don't have to agree, but that is the situation. As for 'big media' the same situation could apply to any event or broardcast.

Re:be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014045)

Strictly speaking it is a device doing the recording in both cases. Presumably if I lease a time-shifting recorder I am treated the same as if I own it. From a legal perspective Optus are doing *almost* just that when they provide this service.

I LOL-ed when I first heard about this on the radio. Quite frankly I think this whole selling rights per media format is a joke. But then the whole commercialisation of sport, from the Olympics down, is a complete joke anyway.

They had the world championships for walking this week. Walking FFS! So yay, we now know who the fastest person in the world is at NOT RUNNING! Or at least they were on the day. It may have changed since.

Re:be nice (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014199)

OK, serious question then; what if the recording equipment used by Optus was leased to the customer so that they "owned" it and in effect all Optus were doing was pressing record for us because we were busy doing something else?

Re:be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014631)

That's not a serious question, that's a pointless question because that's not what's happening here.

This is more like someone recording it at home, then setting up a kiosk in the mall to sell copies. Everyone that buys a copy would have been able to create one themselves legally by recording it at home, but the guy running the kiosk is still breaking the law.

Re:be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40017079)

Just like the guy renting or selling you the VCR/PVR is making money. The main difference I see is that the copy is crossing the boundary of your property over a broadcast/communications medium. Big telcos have tried this shit in the past trying to make it so all ISPs hade to get a carriage license. I remember reading all sorts of guff about how businesses could potentially be liable for having to register for a carriage license if they used wifi to extend there transit from one building to another if it crossed a property boundary. This issue could potentially open all sorts of cans of worms. As I've commented elsewhere it is a classic example of where technology change seems to be outstripping the judiciaries ability to apply the current laws in meaningful ways. The stupid thing is that if Optus loses this then now that they have shown that there is a market for it it won't be long before someone in Russia of the USA starts up some competing service that is outside Australia's jurisdiction and once again a company that provides Australian's with real, technical, IT jobs will be out again. It is hard enough to keep smart IT people in Australia without disincentives like this happening all the time.

There is a similar situation in Canada (2, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014019)

We have similar rights to record, transcode, and back up media in Canada.

The Harpercrite goobermint is trying to enact a DMCA-type clause, which violates our rights to make backups and to transcode media. The argument against the legislation is that even the use of encryption violates our rights to record and transcode data, never mind how much more of a violation it would be to make it illegal to break the encryption.

Here's hoping both our nations can kick big media's arse once again as we have done repeatedly in the cases over the years that enshrined our existing rights.

Not every legal system on the planet is willing to suck up to big media like the USG.

Re:There is a similar situation in Canada (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40020007)

Bill C-11 is a done deal.
The only hope is to elect a more citizen-friendly government that will amend/repeal that atrocity.
But until then, we get to live with it.

Obligatory link:
http://www.michaelgeist.ca/ [michaelgeist.ca]

MPAA control over election (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40020713)

Do Rupert Murdoch and the rest of big media have the same power over who gets elected in Australia that they have in the USA [pineight.com] ?

Re:MPAA control over election (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40024489)

Pretty much.

Liberty & Commercial Rights are Mutually Exclu (3, Insightful)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014197)

Does this really surprise anyone?

You are free to do whatever you want to in this world, until such time as someone with more power than you discovers a way to make you pay for doing it.

Now two commercial interests have discovered a way to set up the same toll gate and bridge over the same river and neither wants to give up their perceived right to all the traffic they can handle, while denying the other.

Of course it's going to end up in a fight.

But what is really surprising is that the people who have to cross that bridge never take a side in this matter, since theoretically it's their elected representatives who get to decide which technological bridges have monopolies and which may co-exist.

GrpA

Going forward (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014459)

"Going forward" and "let me be clear" are the 100% reliable signs that some NLP-trained (pseudoscience) management drone or worse, committee, have had a hand in designing what you are reading. Never trust anything you see these phrases in.

It is still a "free to air" broadcast... (4, Insightful)

djjockey (1301073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014801)

What is often overlooked in the media coverage of this issue - i haven't read the article but i assume it's no better - especially by the sporting bodies (AFL/NRL) and others is that the feed that Optus were providing this service on was a Free To Air broadcast. This creates the following situation:

Firstly, the sports bodies (AFL in particular) have sold the TV rights for a large sum of money separately to the "internet" rights. Telstra have the sole right to transmit over the internet, and are obviously pissed off about their competition. However the Free to Air networks should be jumping at the chance to get their feed to more people - after all, the more people watching increases the value of their advertising, and in theory would increase the value of the rights they have paid.

Secondly, with the focus on protecting the value of the internet rights alone they are missing two other opportunities - namely the chance to get non-Telstra subscribers to have access, and secondly the chance to get more people overall to watch the sport. More eyes is more advertising, more merchandise and more members - and possibly more gambling revenue too.

Finally, I have an objection to people complaining about what happens to a FTA broadcast once it's put into the air... I don't believe people should be able to make multiple copies and sell the works, but it's already being broadcast... the method for an individual recording and viewing should not matter.

Re:It is still a "free to air" broadcast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40015463)

+1 to this.... its already broadcast, and If you look closely - the networks AREN'T jumping up and down about Optus using their content. It means people get to see their broadcast (and more importantly advertisers) sitting on a train.. in a bar... or anywhere else they don't currently have access to a TV.

Its only Telstra and the football codes getting upset because they did a 100 mill+ deal on something they "created" out of thin air. Namely "internet rights".

What I find bizarre about all of this, is that I can't see ANY reason why this is case/debate is restricted to the sporting codes... surely it applies equally to those episodes of NCIS and any other TV shows/movies broadcast in Australia on Free To Air - which would threaten the broadcast deals done between the content producers in the US and the networks in Australia.

Re:It is still a "free to air" broadcast... (1)

mibus (26291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022471)

Secondly, with the focus on protecting the value of the internet rights alone they are missing two other opportunities - namely the chance to get non-Telstra subscribers to have access, and secondly the chance to get more people overall to watch the sport. More eyes is more advertising, more merchandise and more members - and possibly more gambling revenue too.

I really doubt that anyone using Optus' service has no alternative means of watching the show later.

I suspect the AFL's involvement is more to ensure that Telstra pay again next year, rather than losing out on the $$ from the streaming contract.

oblig. disclaimer: I work at a carrier in .au, but not one involved in this case. This is my personal opinion. Some settling of contents may have occurred during transit.

Re:It is still a "free to air" broadcast... (1)

djjockey (1301073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022801)

My comment was not so much about the ability to access later - more about being able to watch it when not at home. The time-shifting provision is probably a combination of a technical delay to record, transcode and then stream, along with potentially a nice legal out.

Totally agree that it's the internet streaming $ but isn't the trade off the free to air rights are now worth more?

I love how this is written (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40015325)

This article is written to try and make us think one way and completely ignores the actual problem. The big issue was Optus was broadcasting(and earning money off) sports games at a couple of minute delays. Essentially, subverting the companies that hold the rights to broadcast. It also makes it sound as though it's just like recording at home. The difference is that they are earning money off content they don't have the rights to, where as recording something at home for private use is a different situation. The end user is within the confines of the law, rebroadcasting content that has been paid for by others and making a profit off it however isn't.

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