Streaming and case referred to ECJ

Streaming live on the Internet. Case referred to ECJ.

An interesting case hit the High Court this week concerning infringement and various defences under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 in relation to live streaming over the internet.

The case was ITV Broadcasting Ltd and others v TV Catchup Ltd [2011] EWHC 1874 (Pat), 18 July 2011.)

Copyright Directive

The Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) sought to harmonise copyright laws across the EU. By doing so this would bring the EU in line with the digital era and all the challenges that the digital era brings.

The relevant articles of 29 are 2, 3 5 (1) and 5 (5) .

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA)

The CDPA protects films and broadcasts in accordance with Section 1(1)(b), (CDPA) and is protected as a work of copyright unless it is excepted by section 6(1A) of the CDPA. That is, the CDPA excludes internet transmissions from being broadcasts. Unless one of the exceptions apply namely

1. Transmissions taking place simultaneously on the internet and by other means.

2. Concurrent transmissions of a live event.

3. Transmissions of recorded moving images or sounds which form part of a scheduled programme service.


Copyright will be infringed unless either permission is provided by the copyright owner or one of defences apply. The defences can be located at section 28A of the CDPA, which was inserted by the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 (literary works). Section 73 of the CDPA will apply if within the UK a wireless broadcast is made and immediately re-transmitted by cable. But it must form part of a qualifying service. Section 76(6).

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