AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has welcomed a Federal Court decision to prevent Optus customers from recording and watching football matches on delay.
The AFL, NRL and Telstra on Friday won an appeal against an earlier ruling that allowed Optus customers to use the TV Now service to record matches and view them on their PCs, telephones and other devices.
Federal Court justices Desmond Finn, Arthur Emmett and Annabelle Bennett upheld the appeals launched by the AFL, NRL and Telstra.
Justice Finn told the Federal Court that Optus was the maker of recordings, and that meant the company was in contravention of copyright laws.
A ruling in February found the TV Now service did not breach copyright laws as its customers were responsible for the recordings – similar to a person using a video or digital recorder. Therefore, TV Now was exempt from the Copyright Act.
Justice Finn said Optus was unable to use the “private and domestic use” defence to avoid the Copyright Act and, therefore, the appeals must be upheld.
Demetriou said the judges made a common sense decision which vindicated the strong stance taken by the leagues and Telstra.
He said it protected the $153 million rights deal Telstra has with the AFL.
“It’s a great win,” Demetriou told 3AW.
“It’s more of a victory for our funding and all of the funding we put into grass roots because we rely on the funding from these rights.
“We’re very thankful the three learned judges unanimously upheld the decision and commonsense has prevailed.”
Demetriou said he believed Optus had acted unethically and must now stop offering a service they didn’t pay for.
“It vindicates our decision, it’s a very sensible decision, particularly for all sports that rely on this funding,” he said.
Telstra also welcomed the judgment.
“This judgment is a great result for everyone who cares about the financial health of Australian sport,” a spokesman said.
“It ensures that sports bodies, and Australian content owners more generally, are able to receive a fair return from their property.”
by Buford Balony