×

U.K. Broadcaster ITV Wins Retransmission Court Case

ITV shows include ‘Broadchurch,’ starring David Tennant

British broadcaster ITV has won a court battle with streaming service TVCatchup.com, which has been retransmitting its broadcasts without permission. The case comes as ITV prepares for a fight over retransmission fees this summer with British cable operator Virgin Media.

TVCatchup.com had been offering ITV channels, as well as those of the U.K.’s Channel 4 and Channel 5, for free online. ITV, backed by the other two networks, challenged this at the European Court of Justice.

The court said TVCatchup.com was not exempt from European Union copyright rules that allow free retransmission of public service channels via cable.

An ITV spokesperson said: “We are delighted that the European Court has ruled that our channels should not be retransmitted online or on cable without our authorization.

“This finding recognizes the vital importance of intellectual property protection in maximizing investment in original U.K. TV content and preventing free-riding.”

ITV is also hoping to extract fees from Virgin Media for retransmitting its flagship channel, ITV 1, which airs shows like “Broadchurch,” starring David Tennant. Although the cable operator is exempt at present under U.K. copyright law, that exemption is set to be withdrawn once the British Parliament passes the Digital Economy Bill. The situation is complicated by the fact that Liberty Global, Virgin Media’s owner, holds a 9.9% stake in ITV.

“The government has already confirmed that the current U.K. law on retransmission is no longer relevant,” ITV’s spokesman said. “We’ve long argued that the carriage of ITV’s main channel on cable and satellite platforms should be subject to the same commercial negotiations as our non-public service channels.”

A Virgin Media spokesman said: “Culture secretary Karen Bradley and digital minister Matthew Hancock have repeatedly told Parliament they do not want the public service television companies to force Virgin Media to charge free-to-air television viewers to watch ITV.

“Virgin Media has confidence the government will ensure public service free channels continue to be free.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Issue With Customer Records

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, has confirmed a security issue may have exposed customers’ records. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. Reports of the data breach first surfaced Tuesday through the Tech Crunch site, which alleged that tens of thousands [...]

  • Tycho weather app

    This Website Creates Spotify & Apple Music Playlists Based on Your Local Weather

    Electronica musician Tycho launched a clever promotional website for his new album “Weather” this week: Visitors of Tycho’s website can use a web app to generate a playlist based on their local weather. Playlists can be saved to both Spotify and Apple Music, and consist of 25 songs, both from Tycho’s catalog as well as [...]

  • AT&T TV

    AT&T TV: An Unskinny Streaming Bundle That Looks a Lot Like Traditional Pay TV

    AT&T this week launched AT&T TV, a new subscription streaming television service that uses an Android-based internet set-top, in 10 markets. But the way it’s priced and packaged looks very similar to cable and satellite TV services — in other words, AT&T TV isn’t targeted at the cord-cutter crowd. It’s basically designed as a way [...]

  • Sofia Wylie arrives at Variety's Power

    Disney Channel Enlists Duplass Brothers for YouTube Hip-Hop Dance Series Starring Sofia Wylie

    Disney Channel’s first original scripted series made exclusively for release on YouTube is “Shook,” a hip-hop dance short-form series starring Sofia Wylie, produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. “Shook” will debut Saturday, Sept. 28, on Disney Channel’s YouTube channel. The scripted single-camera show centers on 15-year-old Mia (Wylie), who yearns to dance professionally but [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Is Getting Rid of Messaging Feature

    YouTube is killing off a feature that allowed users to share videos and other messages with each other. YouTube Messages, which was first introduced in January of 2017, will be turned off by September 18, the company announced this week. “We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature [...]

  • Yara Shahidi

    Audible Teams Up With Big Names as Audio-Only Storytelling Expands

    Hobnobbing with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kate McKinnon and Yara Shahidi isn’t typically the gloss applied to the cerebral audiobook set, but Audible is putting the humble audio story through its own movie-makeover montage, inking high-profile development deals with entertainment names like “The Walking Dead” comics creator Skybound Entertainment, Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Lorne [...]

  • Geneva Wasserman

    Condé Nast Taps Film Veteran Geneva Wasserman as SVP of Motion Pictures

    Condé Nast Entertainment hired Geneva Wasserman as senior vice president of motion pictures, overseeing development of the media company’s slate of feature film properties. Wasserman, a nearly 20-year veteran of the entertainment industry, most recently served as co-founder and executive producer of production firm Project Z Entertainment. She takes over the role at CNE after [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content