Friday, April 27, 2012

Copyright Loss For Optus TV


National Rugby League Investments Pty Limited v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd [2012] FCAFC 59 (27 April 2012)

"The two primary issues raised in the appeals can be stated shortly. The first is: When a cinematograph film (or copy) and a sound recording (or copy) were made when a television broadcast of one of the AFL or NRL matches was recorded for a subscriber, who, for the purposes of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) was the maker of that film, sound recording or copy? Was it Optus or the subscriber (or both of them jointly)? The primary judge’s answer to this was that the maker was the subscriber.

Ours is a different conclusion. The maker was Optus or, in the alternative, it was Optus and the subscriber. It is unnecessary for present purposes to express a definitive view as between the two. Optus could be said to be the maker in that the service it offered to, and did, supply a subscriber was to make and to make available to that person a recording of the football match he or she selected. Alternatively Optus and the subscriber could be said to be the maker for Copyright Act purposes as they acted in concert for the purpose of making a recording of the particular broadcast which the subscriber required to be made and of which he or she initiated the automated process by which copies were produced. In other words, they were jointly and severally responsible for the act of copying. That is our preferred view.

The second question is: If Optus’ act in making such a film would otherwise constitute an infringement of the copyright of AFL, NRL or Telstra, can Optus invoke what we would inaccurately, but conveniently, call the “private and domestic use” defence of s 111 of the Act? The primary judge did not have to consider this, given his answer to the first question.

Our answer is that Optus cannot either as maker alone or as a maker with a subscriber bring itself within the scope of the s 111 exception on its proper construction."

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