Back in the Dark Ages

Down under the television networks are doing their level best to wind the clocks back. Australia's broadcasting incumbents have always wielded extraordinary political clout and after years of resisting having any electronic program guide they have finally succumbed to the real world and have agreed to offer one.

But it is not without conditions. Fearing viewers may do what they have done everywhere else in the world and use their recorders to skip the ads, the networks are threatening the consumer electronic companies with legal action if they sell machines which skip ads faster than X60

"Broadcasters are not authorizing the use of the programs listing data in PVRs where 'ad-skip' functionality goes beyond a maximum fast forward speed of x60; broadcasters reserve their rights with respect to those suppliers," Julie Flynn CEO of the broadcasters lobby wrote in a letter to the digital manufacturers association last week.

"In addition, the PVRs which display the EPG must employ adequate copy protection measures to prevent the redistribution of free to air content outside the home or on the internet. She said Broadcasters reserve their rights subject to the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968, to take legal action at any time for copyright infringement where program listings are used in contravention of these terms.

Exactly what basis the action would be bought is dubious at best but the thought of the likes of Philips and Sony changing their machines just to suit the small Australian market is laughable if not a touch tragic for a country which usually boast how open it is to world trade.

More Reports:
- ITwire has the story