Audio, Video Streaming Definition Avoids Licensing Disaster

Clarification that Internet audio and video streaming are not broadcasting services, is just "one little victory for the Internet industry out of the digital industry licensing disaster", according to telecommunications analyst Paul Budde.

In a determination issued by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, a service that provides television programs or radio programs through the Internet - other than a service that delivers television programs and radio programs using the broadcasting services band - will not fall within the definition of a broadcasting service.

This ruling relates to the definition of 'broadcasting service' under Section 6 of the Broadcasting Service Act 1992.

"It is a good thing that it has been clarified. If not, it would have been used as a legal situation and the industry would have been seen as competition to broadcasters," Budde said adding that the determination has protected the industry from court action by the broadcasting industry.

The determination supports the government's decision of July 21 2000 following a review which was necessary due to lack of legal certainty about the role of streaming services. In question was whether a streaming service that makes programs available on the Internet fell within the definition of broadcasting services under the Act.

Senator Alston said in a statement that the determination will mean Internet streaming provided outside the broadcasting services bands, through home computers or on mobile phones, will not be regarded as a broadcasting service.

The determination was effective from September 27 2000, subject to parliamentary scrutiny through the disallowance process.

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