Friday, April 15, 2005

Cybersky: Super TV-P2P on Trial

A software program called ByteTornado stands at the centre of a German legal battle over the ability to freely and anonymously exchange television content over the internet. ByteTornado is kind of a BitTorrent on steroids that allows realtime television viewing and transmission. It is the core technology behind the P2P programs CyberTelly and Cybersky-TV. The last is the anonymous, unregulated, "wilder" brother of the first and allows the recording of TV streams, not being bothered by DRM. With a PC and TV tuner card users can transmit their own content, but also DVDs, or paid TV content, as is the fear of pay TV company Premiere.

Premiere obtained a temporary injunction against the distribution of Cybersky-TV, which prohibits
to offer or distribute or operate the Software TVOON Media Centre and/or Cybersky TV, as long as this contains a Peer-to-Peer Function, which allows to broadcast or receive decrypted Content of PayTV-stations over the internet. [TVOON is a personal digital recorder, apparently DRM-free-RL]
On April 26th a Hamburg District Court will decide if the company behind Cybersky-TV, TC Unterhaltungselektronik AG (TCU), may or may not distribute the program. For investors TCU apparently provides a pro-Cybersky-TV legal opinion by some unnamed lawyer:
"If emule or grokster or the hundred other filesharing tools which you may find in all pc-magazines are legal, cybersky is legal too" [...] "a software provider is never responsible for abuse of single users"
Well, that has to be seen. In Germany and on the other side of the Atlantic: this is MGM v. Grokster German style.
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ByteTornado/Cybertelly/Cybersky site
"Legal stuff" page with referred quotes
TVOON site [German]
Thru Urheberrecht [German]
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Update (26/4): The ruling is in: German Court Prohibits Distribution P2P Software


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