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Optus has defended its TVNow app as Telstra, NRL and AFL cry foul.

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The landmark court case, which kicked off yesterday with SingTel owned telco battling it out against rival Telstra, who have teamed up with Rugby and Football bodies to defend its broadcast rights against Optus’ mobile TVNow app.

The app allows viewers record programmes including sport and watch it just minutes after delayed free-to-air broadcasts.

Telstra has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the AFL on mobiles for $153m this year for 2012-2016 period, and is about to enter negotiations with the NRL on a similar deal but is threatening to pull out of the deals if Optus, who do not pay for screening rights, are not stopped in their tracks.

The rival telco claim Optus TVNow is in breach of copyright.

The test case is also to examine whether Optus’ cloud based service infringes upon the Copyright Act and the outcome could have major implications for similar PVR and Internet based services in the future.

Read Sports War: Optus V Telstra TV Battle Kicks Off

However, Optus argued in court yesterday its the use of the copy that is the key issue, rather than the actual recording, and say its service falls under the remit of the “time shift” provisions of the Act.

The telco’s lawyers also proffered other personal video recorder services like FetchTV and Foxtel IQ as examples of other  similar services to the one Optus announced in July.

“It’s not the making of the copy that matters, it is use of a copy that matters,” Richard Cobden, SC argued on behalf of his client Optus, yesterday.

 

However, AFL lawyer David Catterns QC, and NRL representative Noel Hutley SC, rejected the Foxtel evidence arguing it should be disallowed, which was granted by the presiding Judge, reports Fairfax Media.

Witness Rod McKemmish, partner at PPB Advisory, was also called into proceedings to explain how the app works and described how the recorded content from PC or smartphone was stored for a 30 day period , and can be downloaded on four different formats including Apple iOS and Android on what he described as a “near live” basis.

The case continues today.

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