Wave goodbye to live TV live streaming

If you're a fan of watching television on your computer through sources that aren't iPlayer, 4oD and the like, then you may have some bad news. The sites that retransmit live television, according to a European court, are in breach of copyright.

Of course, you probably knew that if you've been watching football matches through hooky hook-ups, but this also means that sites such as TVCatchup are going to vanish if they don't get clearance from broadcasters.

ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 made the case against TVCatchup and the ECJ decided the site was in breach of a 2001 law, which means those broadcasting spoilsports can clamp-down on it or get rid of the service altogether.

"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," said the ECJ. "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."

TVCatchup director, Bruce Pilley, is bullish about it all, saying that this ruling would impact "barely 30%" of its 12 million registered users, adding: "TVCatchup.com is here to stay, we are not thinly disguised purveyors of filth, we remain Europe's first and only legal internet cable service and the ECJ opinion affects only a handful of channels we carry."

TVC's full statement is here.



  • jimmy
    Does this mean I sue anyone who retweets anything I say without express written permission or does it only count for big corporations?
  • Grammar N.
    @ Jimmy - copyright could attach to your tweets, however there is a de minimis principle for copyright works but I don't think there has ever been a case on the length of tweet required for that so it's probably a bit of a grey area and would also depend on the specific of the tweet. However, I would be surprised if there wasn't something in twitters T&C's that either served as a future assignment to twitter of all your tweets (so they could then permit other users to retweet) or a form of license allowing them and their other users to retweet. Even if neither were the case, are you really going to sue anyone for retweeting? Are your tweets anywhere near as valuable as TV shows?
  • jokester
    "ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 made the case against TVCatchup " - why? TVCatchup still shows the adverts and is (presumably) exactly the same thing you see on your TV. So why do they care???
  • Pizza_D_Action
    Got to agree with jokester... the channels should embrace it not sue the pants off it (Apple style). If they didn't show the ads then I could understand but TVCatchup must increase their viewing figures.
  • Tim
    Well this is quite a strange move. Blocking people from viewing your ad supported network.. I would guess it has something to do with the way they count their viewing numbers? Fortunately Channel 5 has little worth watchign so that won't be missed.
  • Studley
    Woah woah woah... watching illegal tv streams is illegal? Whatever shall we do about it, I wonder?
  • DragonChris
    Fuck, there goes continuing my TV program whilst I'm on the shitter, rather than missing out :(
  • rusty
    I hope they have the money to pay the damages else 100% of the users will be effected.
  • live h.
    I do believe all of the ideas you have offered on your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for starters. May just you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.
  • Liam
    TV Catchup was a Godsend for me over Christmas. My aerial blew off the roof with the wind. No one could come out in my area for two weeks after New Year. So I connected my laptop to my TV with TVC and I had TV again. I don't see why the channels are so bothered. Surely it's extra people to watch their adverts.
  • Her L.
    Do people still watch TV with adverts? ITV? Ant and Dec, Kerry Katona and Piers "the cunt" Morgan - hardly must-see viewing now is it. If you really do need to subject your eyeballs to the programming equivalent of dragging your bare arse across a floor of 80-grit sandpaper then time-shift it with a plus service or similar PVR. You'll only be missing adverts for Morrisons with Ant and Dec or Iceland with Kerry Katona.
  • SB
    Can't wait for someone to release a PVR that automatically skips adds. Then the channels can shove it where the sun don't shine... PS, why haven't they gone after Murdoc, since Sky Go does the same thing, but a fuck lot worse?
  • Reser
    I guess I will not be watching ITV channel 4 or Five anymore then? Hell If I use my freeview box I can watch them free so what is the big deal about watching them online? Now I will not watch them at all and not see their adverts, so yeah good job? Bunch of idiots.
  • Strawbear
    SB - I think they did, in the states and there was some litigation, maybe in 2010 or 11? Maybe I dreamt it. Still, this catch up TV passed me by, I wasn't aware that British TV had much left to offer, besides the occasional BBC 4 documentary. Isn't the rest of it period dramas and police procedurals?
  • Harry P.
    So I pay the BBC yearly for them to threaten people who let me watch their own TV programs LIVE? Back to Hulu, Netflix and other methods then. Bastards.
  • RedRhino
    The thing that gets me is, i have to pay a TV licence, despite the fact i don't have a TV, because i have the internet, yet i cant watch live TV For FREE, anywhere on the internet? i have to use Catchup services such as BBC iPlayer, or 4od to watch tv, but these don't offer the programmes till HOURS after they have been shown on the TV, ie 2 Broke girls shows at 9pm on E4, at 11:30pm it is available for me to watch on 40d. or i use TVC to watch it live at 9pm on my mac. TBF if they stop TVC, and dont offer LIVE Streaming of TV for free them selves, i will sue them back for the TV licence, as i am sure that there must be a clause (or loop hole) in there for this.
  • Troll M.
    @RedRhino - So you are too tight to buy a TV but you feel you have a suitable amount of money to launch a legal trial for your right to watch TV on your laptop.
  • Aunt B.
    I would imagine that ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, the three channels that brought this legal action will also be concerned about the revenue that they are missing out on through the advertising found on there respective websites that people don't get to see when using a service like TV Catchup. There is also sections of each channels website like competitions that may be advertised on a channels homepage, and generally create a lot of revenue also for the channel. I have noticed that a number of Channel 5 competitions are telephone, text or write in, there is no enter online option, and who enters by post anymore?
  • Reser
    RedRhino you "do not" have to buy a TV licence because you have the internet, you also do NOT have to own a TV Licence to watch catchup services such as ITV Player, iPlayer and 4OD, it is only for "live" TV. You should probably educate yourself more on this matter.
  • sefton
    I haven't had a TV licence for 2 years I as never watch(ed) LIVE TV shows only the +1/+2 or +3 channels which i found i could watch on-line for FREE (sometimes a day later) and find it much better to watch what i want when i want, allowing me to save £145 per year with the added benefit of no adverts or crappy reality TV shows to hinder my viewing... the TV licence is outdated as when it was written up there was no other way to watch TV other than through an aerial...now you can watch it where ever you like on whatever you like...as long as programs are not being watched as they are broadcast (LIVE), you DON'T need a TV licence!!!
  • rondo
    Sefton, You are almost correct - you don't need a licence to watch programmes that are not "as-live"; but if you are watching a +1 channel at the same time that +1 channel airs on Freeview or satellite etc, then it counts as live, and you do need a licence. You only get away without a licence if you only watch the catch-up services like iPlayer to watch a programme AFTER the tranmission time on any channel.

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