Last 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]