Recent legal motions against Toronto-based webcaster iCraveTV.com has raised issues that point to the minefield awaiting broadcasters as they gingerly tiptoe into the little-known but much talked about realm of the internet. iCraveTV streams content (including sports, sitcoms, news and dramas) from stations available in Toronto and Buffalo, N.Y., as Canadian copyright laws permit rebroadcasting of programming if it is not modified.
Cybertheft and on-line security, internet copyright infringements, control over programming and, therefore, advertising dollars, became topics of debate when it was realized that the website, launched last November, was transmitting live broadcasts into the U.S. Two U.S. lawsuits, one spearheaded by the Washington-based Motion Picture Association of America (organizations involved include Time Warner, ABC, CBS and Fox), plus two Canadian lawsuits, led by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association and the Canadian Association of Broad-casters, were subsequently filed.
A preliminary injunction, issued by a U.S. federal court, is currently in place preventing iCraveTV from streaming programming until it can prove U.S. residents are unable to view it. The web site’s security measures, meant to prevent webcasting in the U.S., were hacked through in just a few hours by a third year Harvard University economics major.