News Corp takes iSentia to court over Sky News copyright

News Corp Australia entity Australian News Channel has launched proceedings int he Federal Court against media monitoring company iSentia.

According to the Federal Court case file, Australian News Channel has submitted proceedings against iSentia for breach of Australian Intellectual Property and Copyright laws.

A spokesperson from Australian News Channel told Mumbrella:  “Australian News Channel Pty Ltd has filed an application in the Federal Court in respect of an apprehended infringement by iSentia Pty Limited of Australian News Channel’s copyright in Sky News content. Australian News Channel is seeking a declaration that acts done by iSentia Pty Limited in providing media monitoring services to government customers in respect of Sky News content do not fall within the scope of the “Crown use” statutory licence contained in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).”

Sky News is owned by the Australian News Channel, after starting out as a joint venture between Seven, Nine and the News Corp-aligned BSkyB, which owns Sky News in the UK.

Since 1 September, competing news monitoring service Streem has held an exclusive licence to monitoring of Sky News content. This means Streem is the only media monitoring company in the Australian and New Zealand market able to provide customers with full content from Sky News Australia, including alerts, streaming, downloads and transcripts.

iSentia claims it qualifies for an exemption under section 183(1) of the Copyright Act, which allows for use of copyright material for the services of the Crown.

iSentia, CEO, Ed Harrison

iSentia CEO and managing director, Ed Harrison said: “The use of section 183 by MMOs for the provision of copyrighted material to government entities is a well established practice that has been in place for many years. We are disappointed that Sky [News] are seeking to limit government access to content but we welcome the opportunity for the court to provide us all with clarity on this matter”.

According to AusTender data, Streem has won more than half the Federal Government’s media mentoring requirements put out for tender in the past two years.

In September iSentia was wholly acquired by UK-based Access Intelligence, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business.

Last month, iSentia and Meltwater, another media monitoring company, were successful in a dispute with The Copyright Agency in the Copyright Tribunal.

The case, which was commenced by Meltwater in 2017, was driven by the company’s ambition to set a new price for content and ensure that there was one set of clear rules that all players in the industry could follow. In June 2018, iSentia, now Access Intelligence, joined the proceedings.

The Tribunal rejected the proposed license structure from The Copyright Agency which would have resulted in a 300% increase in costs.


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