Premiere defeats P2P threat

German pay-TV broadcaster Premiere has emerged the victor in a long-time juridical battle against the developer of controversial P2P software Cybersky-TV. Germany’s Federal Supreme Court has rejected the appeal by Cybersky-TV developer Guido Ciburski against the prohibition of the software by the Superior Court of Hamburg.

The decision by Hamburg’s judges is final and means that Ciburski is legally prohibited from offering, operating or distributing the software as long as it enables the transmission and reception of decrypted content from Premiere’s pay-TV platform through the internet.

The software’s purpose was to enable viewers to make TV channels from around the world accessible to each other through broadband internet without fee. As everything a user could receive on the regular TV set could be streamed, this would have included pay-TV services, provided that a regular subscription was taken out. Premiere considered this to be a threat to its business model, as third-party users could gain access to its encrypted content without subscription payments.

Ciburski first presented the system, which was backed by German company TC Unterhaltungselektronik, in autumn 2004. Premiere immediately announced a legal examination and soon reached a preliminary court order.

The software, which like other internet-based music and video file exchange platforms was based on a peer-to-peer solution (P2P), was released for public beta testing in autumn 2006, but subsequently became inaccessible.