Wizzgo banned from M6 and W9

In May 2008, the French startup wizzgo launched its service. Mainly, wizzgo offers two functionalities: Electronic Program Guide and Network recorder for the French channels of Free To Air operators so called Télé Numérique Terrestre (TNT). In other words, you are able to explore the guide of all channels, and through one click you “record” an event. You may view recorded events as often as you want through Internet. The downloaded events are not DRM protected and thus can be copied and distributed without restriction.

Unfortunately, wizzgo did not negotiate with broadcasters. M6 and W9 have sued wizzgo for unfair competition and commercial parasitism. Wizzgo claims that it is legal because it performs only a private copy. The judge did not buy in this argument. Private copy is not applicable to commercial application. Although the service is free for users, wizzgo gets money from advertising. Furthermore, it modifies the audience and user viewing habits thus spoiling broadcasters’ advertising revenues.

An interesting information is that M6 and W9 have just launched their catch up TV service (M6 replay). Thus, wizzgo is in direct competition for the same market.

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