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Full Spectrum: TV Now becomes TV Then

How is Optus' cloud different from a digital video recorder?
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

How is Optus' cloud different from a digital video recorder?

That was what the full bench of the Federal Court had to weigh up. The court came to a decision last Friday, ruling that the free-to-air TV-recording app developed by Optus, called TV Now, was in breach of copyright held by the AFL and the NRL, by recording broadcasts of their matches and then storing them in Optus' cloud.

Optus' defence was that the company's system would only initiate any recording when a customer requested it through the TV Now app, so the company had little involvement in making the recording. It was an automatic process initiated by the user, so it was allowed under time-shifting provisions in the Copyright Act. While that argument convinced the judge when the case was first heard, the full bench disagreed when the case came to appeal.

The court said that because TV Now is a commercial service that Optus profits from, Optus clearly has a role in making the recording.

There's a good chance that the case will end up before the High Court, but, in the meantime, it's got me wondering: where do we draw the line for virtualisation?

As more and more services move into the cloud, both businesses and consumers are increasingly relying on cloud companies to look after tasks for them. So, does that company then take responsibility for everything we do?

While the court was quick to point out that the judgment is confined to TV Now, it looks like we'll be stuck recording TV shows using our trusty old, reliable DVRs for the moment.

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