Sunday, July 6, 2008

RecordTV vs MediaCorp - And Round 1 Goes To..... ??

In the blue corner - Singapore media giant, Mediacorp. In the red corner - Singapore-based online recording website of 'free to air' TV programs, RecordTV.

Last September, RecordTV threw the first punch in this potentially major legal bout, by suing MediaCorp. They have alleged that Mediacorp's legal threats had cost the smaller company $23 million in revenue and $7.5 million in research funding, among other things. RecordTV has asked the court to stop MediaCorp from making any further threats, and is seeking damages.

Both sides appeared in court last Wednesday to discuss preliminary issues in a case that could redefine how Singaporeans record live television.

The action launched by RecordTV last September, was actually a 'pre-emptive' strike, after Mediacorp had threatened legal action of their own, claiming breaches of copyright rules.

RecordTV, runs a website that allows users to download free-to-air programmes, like Prime Time Morning, and store them in an online database.

Data has not yet been provided on how widespread the practice is here, but many popular shows are readily available on file-sharing networks like BitTorrent and video-sharing site YouTube.

Currently, Singaporeans can use DVD players to record shows for themselves, but MediaCorp says the online recordings go beyond that.

Mediacorp had previously alleged that it found 53 shows last July, originally broadcast on channels like Channel NewsAsia, Channel 5 and Channel U, on the RecordTV website. These included Money Mind, Singapore Tonight and CSI Miami III.

The digitised copies are usually stored online for about 15 days. MediaCorp further claimed that was tantamount to making illegal copies.

The case looks to continue later this year, and indications are that it will eventually be moved toward an eventual High Court ruling that could have implications for users who use the Web to record and watch TV programmes.


"RecordTV.com is simply an Internet-based DVR (Digital Video Recorder) or VCR. The functionality is identical to a DVR or VCR, except that the storage is on a remote server. RecordTV has consulted with the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) and accordingly obtained all necessary regulatory licenses for online storage services from the Government of Singapore."


RecordTV launched its online service in July last year, allowing Singaporeans for the first time to record free-to-air TV shows over the Internet.

Founder Carlos Fernandes and Varsha Jagdale bought out an American company which had pioneered the service in the late 1990s.

Users can log onto the website http://www.recordtv.com/ and, with a few clicks of the mouse, record TV shows from Channel NewsAsia, Channel5 and Channel8, among other MediaCorp properties.

The programmes can be stored in an online database for up to 15 days. Users can watch them on a computer or other devices connected to the Internet, such as a mobile phone.

The service, which is free, and still available, does not let people download pay-TV programmes, such as those on cable or satellite.

1 comment:

Lisse Jones said...

Mothers with young children would much appreciate this service. All too often, Mums are busy preparing evening meals, bathing kids, helping with school work and consequently miss out on Favorite shows. Record TV is an excellent way of being able to see your show after the kids are safely in bed. Hooray for Record TV and shame on Media Corp.