IceTV vs. Channel 9: High Court showdown looms

IceTV has been granted special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia against the decision made in favour of TV broadcaster Channel 9 earlier this year.

Electronic program guide (EPG) provider IceTV has been granted special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia against the recent decision made in favour of TV broadcaster Channel 9 by the Federal Court.

The special leave to appeal the decision of the Federal Court, which overturns the decision of Justice Annabelle Bennett, was granted yesterday.

“We are of course very pleased with the decision”, said Matt Kossatz, IceTV’s general manager. Kossatz revealed that at this stage a court date has not yet been set.

In May 2008 the Federal Court ruled that IceTV could not reproduce all of, or a substantial part of, Channel 9's weekly program schedule.

Prior to this appeal, the Federal Court in August 2007 had dismissed Channel 9's case against IceTV , ruling that IceTV did not infringe Channel 9's copyright.

IceTV's EPG service, when used in conjunction with the appropriate digital recorder, allows users to schedule recordings of TV programs up to seven days in advance and watch them at any time. It has been argued by the television broadcasters that this undermines their prime time TV strategy of programming leading TV shows at the same time as other popular programs on different channels.

IceTV has been in an ongoing legal battle with Channel 9 and its parent company, Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) over copyright issues since 2006.

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