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European Court rules TVCatchup live-streaming breaches copyright

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By John Glenday, Reporter

March 8, 2013 | 2 min read

The European Court of Justice has ruled that TVCatchup is breaching copyright by live-streaming TV programmes without obtaining rights clearance from broadcasters.

Europe’s highest court made the pronouncement which affects dozens of websites showing live TV in the UK and is likely to spark a renewed clampdown by rights holders such as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 against similar sites.

In its judgement the ECJ said: “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.

"Television broadcasters may prohibit the retransmission of their programmes by another company via the internet.

"That retransmission constitutes, under certain conditions, a 'communication to the public' of works which must be authorised by their authors."

Responding to the announcement ITV said: “ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 welcome the judgment by the European court of justice. The judgment makes it clear that, subject to some limited defences, broadcasters and content producers should be able to prevent unauthorised streaming of free-to-air channels.

"We now look forward to the UK court's implementation of this judgment. We reserve the right to pursue any site or service we believe to be infringing our copyright or using our content in an unlicensed, illegal capacity."

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