PBL, the Company that owns Channel Nine Network is set to take legal action against Electronic Program Guide (EPG) provider Ice TV in what will be a test case in the Federal Court. Ice TV is currently in the market to raise $4million dollars in capital.

 Ice TV which was established 2 years ago provides electronic information on TV programs. This information is then programmed into a web page which can be seen on various devices including Media Centres, set top boxes and mobile phones. The information allows users to instantly record or pre record a TV program. Currently Ice TV has around 2,000 subscribers who pay an annual fee of around $146.

 Australia is one of the few Countries in the world where TV stations do not work with EPG providers. This has resulted in both Foxtel and Microsoft with their Media Centres not being able to provide an EPG with their set top boxes or Media Centres. The core problem for TV stations is that an EPG allows users to eliminate TV commercials.

 A win by Ice TV will immediately result in several providers including Microsoft, Kiss and Foxtel providing a full EPG program guide service to consumers. A loss will place Australia in the electronic wilderness and at the hands of TV stations Nine, Seven and Ten. A spokesman for Nine has refused to comment.

 IceTV chief executive Duncan Ross said his company had received three legal opinions that its program guide did not breach copyright. One of those opinions was given to IceTV’s founder in 1999 by Gilbert & Tobin, the law firm that is now representing Nine, he is reported to have told the Sydney Morning Herald. said.

 That advice has been confirmed by two other legal firms, Mallesons and Simpsons Solicitors. Mr Ross also said Nine had been invited to come in and review the way IceTV created its guide but the network refused, opting to sue instead.

 More to follow.

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