Optus will today seek to silence Australian Football League (AFL) CEO Andrew Demetriou from claiming its TV-recording app TV Now is "stealing" content from the sporting code.
Later today, Optus will appear in the Federal Court, looking to stop Demetriou from "misrepresenting" the Optus TV Now product.
In the Herald Sun on Sunday, the AFL CEO claimed that the app's feature on iPhones that allows customers to watch TV broadcasts just two minutes delayed from live broadcast was "a form of stealing" and he encouraged Optus customers to leave the telco.
"They are not paying for it; they are lifting it. It is akin to stealing and all it will do is that if sports can't rely on that revenue, they will slug the consumers," Demetriou told the newspaper.
In a statement last night, Clare Gill, Optus' general manager of corporate and government affairs, said that the statements were "misleading and deceptive".
"We are disappointed to see the AFL continue this line and as a result Optus is taking the relevant legal action to defend our name," she said in a statement.
"Optus will continue to defend what we believe are the rights of our consumers now and into the future."
Optus has won the first round in a Federal Court battle over the right to use its TV Now product under time-delay provisions in the Copyright Act. The AFL, the National Rugby League (NRL) and Telstra have appealed, and the hearing is scheduled for 14 and 15 March.
Yesterday, Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood said that broadcasting contracts are the first source of income for professional sporting events and it was important that the legislation catch up with technology like the TV Now app to protect these contracts.