TV companies ditch effort to sabotage set-top box

Attempt to block Reelplay withdrawn

A coalition of three international distributors of TV shows has, at least for now, ditched its efforts to block online services used by the Reelplay set-top box.

Earlier this year International Media Distribution (IMD), which is registered in Luxembourg but whose business is largely focused on North America, Lebanon’s New Tv (Al Jadeed), and Dutch company Overlook Management B.V. launched court action targeting the Internet-connected set-top box.

Earlier this week the group, which applied to block nine domains and subdomains associated with Reelplay services, filed a notice of discontinuance with the Federal Court. The application to close the matter was granted yesterday by Justice Burley.

The move came ahead of a hearing that had been scheduled for tomorrow.

At a case management hearing in March, the applicants alleged that the Reelplay set-top box, which is distributed in Australia, enables the unauthorised streaming of TV channels of which they are either the owner or the exclusive licensee.

At that hearing Justice Burley told the applicants that he would pay “particularly close attention” to proof of service in the matter and said that they needed to ensure they fulfilled the requirements of Section 115a of the Copyright Act.

S115a, which allows copyright owners and licensees to apply for injunctions to block overseas-hosted sites, includes a number requirements that must be met. Chief among them is that an online location must have as its “primary purpose” or, since changes made last year, as its “primary effect”, infringing or facilitating the infringement of copyright.

The application by IMD noted that the Federal Court on two other occasions had granted blocking injunctions that targeted set-top boxes. One of those actions was led by Village Roadshow and targeted the HDSubs+ app; the other by Hong Kong company TVB targeted seven Android-based set-top boxes.

There is no indication as to why the IMD application has been dumped. Comment was sought from IMD.

Currently before the Federal Court are two anti-piracy actions: One is led by Roadshow and enjoys the support of Netflix. The other has been brought by Foxtel and includes among its targets a number of web proxy services.  

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