Ice TV Decision Could Bring Web Information Explosion

Ice TV Decision Could Bring Web Information Explosion
inforeleaseLast week’s legal victory by Ice TV doesn’t just mean that the paid-for electronic program guide (EPG) service can continue — it might also lead to a much wider range of free information online covering everything from train timetables to racing form guides and telephone directories.

In a wide-ranging piece at the Australian, Lara Sinclair and Michael Pelly discuss how the Ice TV ruling — which essentially held that program start times and names weren’t so unique as to be worthy of copyright — could also enable other businesses to start compiling and distributing information online. Amongst the candidates: telephone directory listings, racing form guides, and train timetable information, which has already caused a few kerfuffles. The emergence of ad-skipping PVRs, which so far haven’t appeared in Australia, is also a distinct possibility, the article notes.

Of course, the change is bad news for businesses built on selling that information, but that’s nothing new in the digital age. In the case of commercial entities, building their own web presence which offers a real value-add might be the best bet; in the case of government bodies (like railway authorities), you have to question what possible value there is in being so information-greedy in the first place.

TV revenues, racing guides, threatened by court ruling [The Australian]


  • Exactly right. I pay my taxes, which are used to compile time table information, and I would like that information integrated with web services like google maps – instead of only available through the quite awful government designed web interfaces.

    Why does the government withold data FROM the people, that is compiled with the money OF the people?

  • > “The emergence of ad-skipping PVRs, which so far haven’t appeared in Australia…”

    Bit of a clanger there if this is what they said. Ad-skipping has been available on Australian-purchased PVRs for years. May not be so blatantly called, but a yellow 30-sec-jump button is certainly available on mine.

  • as far as the Tivo, apparently there are ways to hack it to get the USA’s ad-skipping feature and your home media network connections working, however you might consider this:

    ad-skipping will be a thing of the past with the Australian government’s new FreeView standards to be rolled out starting May 1st this year — to get the FreeView Ready tick, PVRs and settopboxes have to prevent ad-skipping features, which is why the Tivo is one of a select few PVRs currently on the Oz market that will be certified as compatible.

    that might not seem an advantage, but by 2010, there will be a next gen/phase of FreeView that takes the ad-skipping feature another step further and will disable your PVR if you use that ad-skipping button (they also suggest legal action may be in the pipeline), it’s also starting to sound like the ongoing cable “theft of service” madness…

    the only way to get around this insanity, are:
    buy a DVB-S card for your PC and a 3m+ dish, or as I have done, get yourself an AppleTV with Boxee or a Tivx/PopCornHour media player, and upgrade your broadband connection — if you have ADSL2+ and enough quota, there is more free content available now, than you can get on Foxtel, let alone on the what will come with FreeView.

    • This comment isn’t entirely accurate — Freeview isn’t a government initiative, it’s a consortium of TV networks. You don’t have to buy a Freeview box — any digital TV set-top box will receive digital channels. What you won’t get is the Freeview EPG. And of course, downloading TV isn’t legal. Watching digital TV is, as is pressing a button saying ‘skip 30 seconds’, presuming you can find one.

  • also — building on the current traffic data systems now in use, I’d really like to see things like train/tram/bus/ferry timetables (and perhaps flights) integrated with the next generation of GPS units, so the transport systems work much more like a network than mere chaos.

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