Radu Razvan /
22 July 2014Copyright

Broadcaster hit by Tour de France piracy

An Australian broadcaster that paid for exclusive rights to air the Tour de France is having its coverage undermined by rival footage being streamed to mobile phones and tablets, according to reports.

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is facing problems with its coverage, with many viewers streaming coverage from UK broadcaster ITV.

SBS, one of five free-to-air television channels in Australia, has shown the famous cycle race every year since 1990. Its coverage is set to continue until 2023 after it signed a deal to broadcast the race on television, computer and mobile.

But, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, the broadcaster’s lawyers informed it that it was being “undermined” by rival coverage being streamed in from online channels and set-top boxes.

The same broadcaster was also targeted by rival coverage during this summer’s FIFA World Cup through set-top boxes.

Purchased outside Australia, the boxes provide coverage of channels from Europe and Asia offering an alternative service.

In the UK, pub landlady Karen Murphy successfully overturned a conviction for copyright infringement and was allowed to continue to use a foreign decoder she had bought to access cheaper European coverage of Premier League football.

SBS paid AUD25 million ($23 million) to broadcast two World Cups and previously said it spent a “significant” amount of money on both the World Cup and the Tour de France.

Graeme Samuel, former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, told the Morning Herald that although it was not to be encouraged the “prices and method” of selling content legally acted as an incentive for people to acquire it through other sources.

A spokeswoman for SBS said it would take “appropriate action” if there were reports of activity that conflicted with its rights to the Tour de France.

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