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Law firms score off-field victory

Law firms score off-field victory

King & Wood Mallesons and Kennedys were celebrating on 27 April after the Federal Court of Australia ruled that Optus had breached copyright laws by broadcasting “near live” sports games.

A Full Bench of the Federal Court upheld an appeal from the AFL, NRL and Telstra against an earlier ruling that allowed Optus customers to use the TV Now service to record matches and view them on their PCs, telephones and other devices.

Justices Paul Finn, Arthur Emmett and Annabelle Bennett overturned an earlier Federal Court ruling which held that Optus had not breached the Copyright Act with its TV Now service.

The AFL, NRL and Telstra said the Optus service infringed their copyright because it makes the recordings of games and passes them on to customers.

The three-judge appeal panel agreed with Telstra and overruled the earlier decision of Justice Steven Rares, who said that Optus customers recorded the broadcasts for personal use, which Australian copyright law allows.

Optus, instructed by Baker and McKenzie, said it will review the decision and may consider an appeal to the High Court.

Kennedys instructed Mr Noel Hutley as counsel for the NRL, while Mallesons instructed Mr David Catterns as counsel for the AFL and Telstra.

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