Precedent set for media free-for-allBy MICHAEL DONALDSON - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 22 April 2007
A court judgment in Australia over the use of online video highlights is being watched carefully by the International Rugby Board in the wake of its controversial decision to limit what news organisations can place on the internet.
Last week in Sydney, telecommunications giants Telstra took a huge hit when they failed to stop Premier Media Group, known as Fox Sports, from broadcasting National Rugby League (NRL) highlights online and onselling the footage.
Telstra paid a lot of money to the NRL for the exclusive rights to show five minutes of footage on their website and 3G mobile phones. They were trying to limit other organisations' usage of the footage to 45 seconds per game and 90 seconds for each round.
The IRB want to do much the same with highlights packages from the Rugby World Cup but have been been more stringent in the limitations they are applying, including telling news websites like tvnz.co.nz or stuff.co.nz they cannot use any video highlights at all unless they pay for them.
In the Sydney case, Premier Media Group argued they had a right to use the NRL footage on their websites as news reporting under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act.The interim court decision in Sydney means non-rights holders on rival websites can continue to show two minutes of NRL action without penalty and for an unspecified time after the event if they are reporting news.