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JumpTV backs off Webcast hearing

Opponents declaring partial victory

TORONTO — Internet rebroadcaster JumpTV has withdrawn from a hearing with the Copyright Board Canada, scheduled for December, in which it planned to argue it is in the same copyright regulatory category as cable and satellite companies, and can therefore Webcast TV.

“We have actually since changed our business model,” said the Montreal-based company’s founder and CEO, Farrel Miller, in a Wednesday letter to the Canadian Copyright Board.

“We will not be pursuing our advertising-based model, and therefore our application to the (copyright board) became moot,” he said. “It has not changed our outlook on doing retransmission on the Internet. It’s not like JumpTV has pulled back.”

Nonetheless, company’s opponents are declaring a partial victory.

“It means that JumpTV isn’t going anywhere for the moment,” said Elizabeth MacDonald, president of the Canadian Film and Television Producers Assn. and a member of the Media Content Coalition, a group of broadcasters and distributors that battles upstarts like the Netco.

“We’ve addressed the immediate issues but we haven’t addressed the larger issue, which is the (copyright) legislation,” said MacDonald, “and we’re just going to keep going through the iCraves (a Toronto-based company that for a time streamed TV onto the Web and the Jumps till the government takes one on.”

The Canadian government has indicated that a review of the country’s copyright law with respect to the Internet is in order, but is vague as to when that might take place.

JumpTV currently rebroadcasts about 20 licensed television channels on the Internet.

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