In a decision handed down by Bennett J of the Australian Federal Court, Sydney’s IceTV has succeeded in proving that its electronic program guide (EPG) ‘does not reproduce a substantial part’ of the Nine Network’s program guide. The decision supported Nine’s claim to ownership of the copyright, but upheld that IceTV’s guide was compiled independently. From the instigation of proceedings in 2006, IceTV had asserted that ‘IceGuide is independently compiled by the company from a suite of sources in the public domain.’
This decision allows users to continue to schedule television recordings on a number of devices, including PCs, video recorders, and mobile phones. The IceTV service currently has 6500 fee-paying subscribers and an additional several thousand on a trial basis. The service is pitching itself as a viable alternative to TiVo, whose official introduction into Australia still remains unclear.
The Sydney Morning Herald observed that many viewed these actions as a traditional media vs. new media battle. Undoubtedly, the service will see increased success in the wake of this decision.