Thank you for the email you sent us on DATE regarding whether your website’s ability to provide listings for Sky Television programming.
First of all, your initiative in setting up this website and the research you have done to date is impressive. As you would probably guess, this kind of legal issue is pretty rare at PLACE, so we have had to do a bit of research in order to figure out what options you have.
Unfortunately under New Zealand law there is no clear answer to the question of whether you would be breaching copyright by providing Sky listings. It seems that the Australian case you referred us to (IceTV v 9 Network) is in your favour. However the decision of an Australian Court is not binding in New Zealand (although it can be referred to in order to support an argument) and if you were to proceed to put up the Sky listings without permission, it is possible Sky may choose to enforce its claim to copyright over the listings in Court (which could be very expensive).
As a first step, we suggest that you send an email to Sky using their provided enquiry form at https://skytv.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/skytv.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=216. The idea of this email should be to ask their permission to provide Sky programme listings on your website. State in the email that you consider that by reproducing basic program and time listings on your website you believe you would not be infringing any copyright laws and refer to the Ice TV case in support by setting out a summary of that decision. Give them a period of time to respond (say 14 days) and say that if you don’t hear from them you will take that as meaning that they do not oppose you reproducing the listings on your site. It would also be a good idea to give them some context of who you are (ie that you are a 14 year old student) and that it is a small website and unlikely to have any negative impact on Sky TV’s business. If you want a simplified breakdown of the IceTV case to help you with your email to Sky, there is a good summary at http://www.burgess.co.nz/law/aussie-copyright-decision-increases-scope-for-fair-dinkum-dealing.
If they grant you permission or do not respond then you can freely provide the programme information on your site. However, Sky may of course write to you to decline your request and refuse to you permission. They may threaten legal action against you if you were to proceed to provide their listings.
In the event that Sky does not give you permission to reproduce their listing, we suggest that if you want to test where the law stands in New Zealand that you consider taking a claim to the Copyright Tribunal. There is no fee for making an application to the Tribunal. However there is a risk of having costs awarded against you (this means having to pay some money towards Sky’s legal costs) if the Tribunal did not uphold your application (ie. you lost). Also, as you are aged 14, and therefore considered in law to be a ‘minor’, you are generally required to have an adult (usually a parent or guardian) represent you as a party to the application – this role is usually referred to as a ‘litigation guardian’. Litigation guardians can be held responsible for any costs awarded against a minor. The Copyright Tribunal does not have any rules about minors making applications but I would assume that they would require that you have representation of some kind given your age.
The is info on the Copyright Tribunal on the Ministry of Justice website - http://www.courts.govt.nz/tribunals/copyright-tribunal
If Sky rejects your request and you want some further advice or help with this process, please let me know. We do not have specialist expertise in this area of law, but could make inquiries as to whether any specialist lawyers would be prepared to help you pro bono (for free).
Another way to approach the situation, if Sky rejected your request, could be to contact other media outlets about your situation. They might be interested in your story which could bring publicity to your website and possibly portray Sky as mean-spirited – however, you can’t control the way things play out in the media, so if you were to decide to do this there is no guarantee that it would resolve the issue in your favour.
Any one here had any experiences with the Copyright Tribunal???