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back to article Swiss start-up re-broadcasting UK TV channels

An internet start-up is re-broadcasting UK television from Switzerland without the stations' permission. It is re-broadcasting all five UK terrestrial channels online, but claims it is not breaking the law. One legal expert, though, said the company's re-broadcasting could be short-lived, and that the Government could close the …

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FTA

Why do they care? Most of the European television (including British tele) is free to air on the satellites!

join.freesat.co.uk

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Pirate

Govt. Closing 'Loophole'

Why would the Govt. get agitated enough to close this loophole? The only reason to do so would be if it had a negative impact on the TV license fee, i.e. if you get your TV via Zattoo you don't need a TV, ergo, you don't need a license...

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Johnny 5 need input!

"if and to the extent that the broadcast is made for reception in the area in which it is re-transmitted by cable"

The article doesn't mention where Zattoo are retransmitting to.

Are they making the feed available outside the UK? Because if so, they're not exploiting a loophole, they're breaking the law. "the broadcast is made for reception" in the UK. If they're rebroadcasting it outside the UK, the clause surely doesn't apply. OK, so their website claims geographically based programming, but given how difficult it is to verify the physical location of a computer (that is to say "impossible"), there is absolutely no way they can be confident that they are not doing so. Ergo they need to properly negotiate with the UK broadcasters in order to obtain an agreement that covers the unavoidable leakage.

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pffff

so foreigners get BBC for free - again! while we are forced to pay 120£ a year for 3 channels still! (ok i include HD but i dont count 3 and 4 as ive never found anything decent on them)

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re:Govt. Closing 'Loophole'

becuase we're paying for it and those fuckers are getting it for free. If they want to watch BBC then they can, but they have to pay the license fee

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Ash
Stop

!Free

UK citizens pay £1x0 a year on TV Tax^H^H^HLicensing. Why should foreigners get it free when we end up paying for it?

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I tried Zattoo

I just tried Zattoo on the road. The quality and robustness was quite good and, to their credit, I could download client software for both Linux and Windows and it all worked.

Unfortunately I found the "Zattoo experience" not to be worthwhile overall. They use IP-geolocation to determine which programs you should be allowed to watch in a very simplistic manner. As their FAQ says, "You can only watch Zattoo in countries that have already been opened for service. Also, in these countries you can only watch the channels that have been cleared for these countries." I am currently in German working and this policy means that all I could watch on Zattoo was exactly the same channel line up I have on my hotel TV (in a language I don't speak well enough to watch TV in.) If I go to a country that isn't cleared (or in the case I have here, the IP-geolocation of my address is wrong and it says I'm in an uncleared country) then I can't watch anything on it al all.

My main reason for wanting Zattoo was that I hoped I would be able to watch TV from my registered country wherever I was, in addition to local TV for the country I was in. I would have been really happy if I had been geolocated when I registered to determine my home and that used to set my entitlement to my home TV. I still pay my TV license when travelling so why shouldn't I be able to take my TV channels with me? I travel frequently and spend a lot of time outside cleared Zattooo areas and therefore will either have exactly the same TV I can already get or (more often) nothing at all and no TV from home. Their service is therefore about a much use to me as a chocolate teapot.

It's a real shame as the actual application works really well.

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Anonymous Coward

Get used to it little englanders

@pffff

so do most other EU countries pay a tc license, so stop winging

re:Govt. Closing 'Loophole'

@By Matt

see above, and stop swearing, it lets your country down

@By Ash

see above, and you can receive other EU transmissions if you wish, so get a life

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Legal or not, it's not worth watching...

Been using it for quite a while, hoping for improvement over time, but the broadcast quality is simply not good enough. So IMHO, it's not even worth to send the legal teams to whoop their butt, they will soon die on their own.

iPlayer or Joost use P2P technology so that they're able to maintain a more-than-decent broadcast quality even with huge amount of viewers. This is clearly not the case with Zattoo: you may get good quality picture and no lag if you watch an exotic channel at 3:00 in the morning, but whenever there's some live popular events (like UEFA Champion's League games) it's simply not watchable any more even with a fast 20Mbps ADSL connection.

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Silver badge

Not working in Germany

More's the pity. Zattoo is officially supported by the public networks here - no complaints from ISPs - but German TV is totally crap. I'd glady pay any licence fee if it had the costs for sport removed. Sport and particularly football is what makes TV expensive.

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Flame

re re:Govt. Closing 'Loophole'

I second your points, but what really pisses me off is that this start up company is making money from a product that they aren't paying for!

@Anonymous Coward.

I can see you're da-man slagging off a lot of named posters while staying anonymous. And I'm really impressed by the way you dredge up bogus or pointless "facts".

* Big Deal if other areas have license fees, those fees _aren't_ paid to UK content providers when this service is used.

* Swearing is at least honest.

* That's like saying "Yeah someone nicked your car and sold it, but hey you can go out and buy someone elses nicked car."

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Happy

hahaha

hahaha.. English people getting angry at the thought of foreigners watching BBC1.

Nationalistic twats.

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Stop

@Matt @Ash @Liam

RTFA for F sake.

It says quite clearly that Zattoo restricts users based on geographical location.

Which doesn't mean that it wouldn't be easy to spoof or circumvent, but probably not by you three since you can't even read.

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Irish Cable and Sky Digital Customers get BBC, but pay

BBC 1, 2 (and the BBC Digital channels) are carried on UPC cable and MMDS in the Republic of Ireland but a substantial part of the cable subscription fee goes to BBC in the form of royalties.

Sky Digital Ireland also carries BBC 1, 2 etc officially in the EPG. They also pay a chunk of the sky digital subscription to BBC.

Licence fees are not unique to the UK are pretty much standard practice across most of Europe, the prices vary and the UK's licence fee is only in the middle of the scale. Some of the Scandinavian countries and Austria in particular have really steep fees >£200 a year!!

The majority of EU countries use a combination of TV Licence fee + advertising to fund public service television.

If BBC's available free-to-air on satellite there's very little they can do to prevent people from picking it up and redistributing it. It may be a copyright violation to re-distribute it without permission, but they cannot prevent people from viewing it if they transmit it in the clear anyway. It's just 'overspill'.

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Unhappy

@ Bill Fresher

You've missed the point you retard. Anyone forced to pay for something that everyone else then gets for free is going to get mad about it. I couldn't give a rat's ass for the thought of johnny foreigner being inflicted with Eastenders, Crap in the attic, celebrity dwarf tossing on ice (etc), just force them at gunpoint to pay for it first like we have to.

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@James Summerson

Actually, according to the Licensing authority, because it broadcasts at the same time as the original transmission, it already DOES require a TV licence.

"You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV."

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Stop

@Bill Fresher

Bill WTF are you talking about? All I've seen in the comments are people pissed off about other people getting channels for free that should be paid for. How is that "Nationalistic"??? I think it might be you who's made yourself look a bit of a twat...

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@ AliBaBa

Paytard.

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Useless

They can't even set their SSL certificate up correctly - says it all to me. Avoid the site.

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Stop

Hold it...

"An internet start-up is re-broadcasting UK television from Switzerland "

and

"if and to the extent that the broadcast is made for reception in the area in which it is re-transmitted by cable"

So, if they're really re-broadcasting from Switzerland (ie their servers are in Switzerland), they most definately ARE breaking the law... the broadcast was not made for reception in Switzerland.

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@Simon McGarry

It's nationalistic because your average foreigner can't view it outside the UK but without knowing that these people became infuriated at the thought of foreigners, not UK license dodgers but foreigners, watching the crap they're forced to pay for.

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Flame

What are people going on about?

1. It did not seem to be suggested that people outside of UK would be receiving UK TV - so if this service is helping people who are paying there licence to be able to watch those channels they already are paying for

- what are those of you going on about who are "being pissed of about other people getting channels for free that should be paid for"???

2. English is not the mother tongue in most european nations and in many countries english / american tv programs are dubbed to their local language. It does seem that most of the people who would want to watch UK TV would likely by UK people abroad, most likely when being on holiday etc - so probably paying licence already?

3. As those who are a bit less emotional about it have noticed already TV licences are common to most countries in Europe. As some also have noticed it is perfectly possible to watch German / French / Italian TV here in the UK without paying there licence fees so what is the problem? Obviously since we are not being morons we also do not automatically assume that UK TV programs have some natural superior qualities when compared to non-UK TV prgrams...

4. It would probably be a good idea for us if we here in the UK got a bit more continental TV channels available from our cable TV distributors so we did not have to be quite as dependent on our local UK TV and its 'enlightened' news reporting etc.

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Silver badge

Royalty

Dutch & Irish Cable companies (possibly the SAME company nowadays), pay a royalty.

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Unhappy

Waste of time

Its a waste of time, it only allows you to watch channels of the country you are in so no corrie here in France, oh well back to the satellite, Bye zattoo, you are gaining nought. I have just removed the programme.

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Gates Horns

Waste of time, it only does the country you are in, back to the satellite

Update to people living outside UK use smarthide GB server and then go to ITV and select channel, works for me.

Its about time that the so called broadcasters in the EU were forced to make the progs available throughout the EU.

With movement of people the aforesaid organisations, copyright and so forth are taking the peas out of the punter.

When in hospital here in france not one room had a TV on and the TV lounge volume was off.

Says something about French TV, my daughter does not watch it and her other half (french) watch either men and motors or footie if its on.

More and more french are asking me to get them going.

So, again to Zattoo let us all see all, illegal? well why not retransmit from say Libya or Malaya or even china i cannot see much happening then.

TVU has had similar for yonks and you get good films in English with Chinois subtitles so again the EU is europe and all programmes should be state (Europe) wide. and yes all deleted. The uninstall is the 49kb exe prog in search zattoo if the uninstall does not come up, mine did not.

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Alien

It's Spring

and the Freesat web pages haven't changed at all, no prices, no set dates for rollout or transmission. Living in a part of the country that won't receive Freeview until 2011, has no cable access and I refuse to buy Sky, I'm still stuck with four channels (can't even get Ch5 - no great loss I know).

Yet for some reason my license fee is exactly the same as those getting ALL the BBC channels.

World getting BBC for free? well morally I can't say a thing as I watch a crapload of American TV for free... legally... probably...

Global village my arse: Petrol per litre in UK yesterday - £1.09.99, in Venezeula - £0.15.

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Nationalism

Hey guys, so what if Johnny Foreigner can watch the BBC for free. You can all watch French/German/Italian TV for free too, even though the citizens of those countries have to pay a licence fee.

What's that? You don't parlez Francais or sprechen Deutsch? Well, that's no excuse...

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Some comments

To all those people upset that other citizens of the EU are watching UK television, I would like to add the following comments.

1. I agree the redistribution should not happen, however its a matter for the BBC/ITV/C4/C5.

2. As far as I know, you are paying for a license (tax) to operate a TV receiver. Some of this money goes to the BBC, as determined by your Government?

This is in common with most other EU countries.

3. As far as I know, there is an EU directive prohibiting the impediment by any EU country to the reception of another EU member's television transmissions, so the BBC's iPlayer may be in breach of this.

So really you have are making a fuss over nothing, remember you are an EU citizen, so you have the same rights as all other citizens within the EU.

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Nev
Stop

Anyone with a satellite dish...

...and a DVB-S receiver can already watch BBC and ITV channels.

Everyone else in Europe has to pay licence fees too.

So stop the whining.

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Anonymous Coward

big deal

So people elsewhere get to see our tv for nowt. Couldn't give a monkeys. Hope they enjoy it - especially the stunningly amusing and humble Messrs Woss and Moyles.

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Happy

Licensing again

I thought I should do a bit of stirring, IF you watch just US tv and or Aussie etc on your computer then you do not need a TV licence, this has been upheld and agreed by the UK TV licensing, basically the UK law states that "if the TV channel being accessed is not available by radio waves at the same time then you are not deemed to be watching TV", if however you are watching greek TV on satellite by dish etc then you DO need a licence. If you are a foreign resident and live abroad and can prove it, and either have exemption from a licence or a foreign TV licence it covers you to watch TV in the UK .

THAT has been stated by the EU parliament. Proof of say French residency? French drivers permit, telephone bill etc.

Now the rub and it may be deemed as follows about the "same time". The time the signal went on the net, NOT the same time as you receive it.

To reiterate about Zattoo, you can only watch the UK TV when in the UK ditto France and so on, a total waste of time.

For the guy that cannot get digital, you do not have to pay to receive the free channels on sky, give friends of mine a call on http://www.pmltechnology.co.uk/

they can sort you out with box, card etc. you get about 50 channels, film channels etc.

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UK TV abroad

Those who want to watch UK TV abroad, should just install a £35 TV card in their computer at home, and install Orb.

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Unhappy

Orb

The use of Orb is only OK if you have a house in the UK, and leave the PC on while you are away. If, as I and about 2m other English do live outside the UK, then THAT is not an option.

The EU has stated that to allow nationals the right to their homeland stations is not to be obstructed, so yes stations like the BBC and ITV who are trying to stop them and incidentally possibly Zattoo under EU law (trouble is there they are in switzerland but if they are doing one thing wrong why not the lot) and the UK government ARE breaking EU law.

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UK TV abroad

Another alternative is to install a Slingbox (or SB Pro) in your British residence and have that available to you wherever you may travel to.

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Zattoo Elaborating on its Service

There seem to be two major questions here. First, why people use Zattoo, and second, the legality.

Why people use Zattoo: The lineup reflects the main channels of a country (the lineup is different in every country served for cultural and for rights reasons). Within a given country, 80% of Zattoo's viewers use the service in more than one location, e.g. at home and at work, to catch up with news, but also to watch events and other content. Nevertheless, in terms of minutes watched, 80% of viewing occurs at home, typically as a "second screen" while the main TV is occupied or while doing other work on the PC.

Legality: Zattoo has been ruled (by copyright or state agencies) a TV-transmission service next to over-the-air, cable, satellite, and IPTV in 7 of 8 countries it operates in. In the UK, Zattoo retransmits 8 "qualifying services" under section 73, that is only a third of the lineup, albeit an important third. Retransmission of Zattoo is simultaneous and unaltered, as on cable. It is not watchable in a browser but rather in an application that ensures stream protection. Rights restrictions require limiting the distribution of the UK lineup to within the UK. The EU has interest in an initiative called "TV without frontiers" to have TV match the freedom of movement of people. This initiative may pay dividends in terms of clearing the rights for Zattoo to retransmit UK channels beyond the UK. In the meantime, expats have to resort to satellite. See also: http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l24101.htm

Beat Knecht, CEO

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Paris Hilton

Well

Well it does say "free to air TV service" and since it is not cached one is splitting hairs over a very loose definition indeed !

An interesting conundrum of choices , is it not !

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