18 May 2007

AARNet Concern at Streaming Television

Nervousness at the possibility of rights infringements threatens streaming televison off-campus.

Thirty-two of the 46 digital television services streaming around the University campus are currently available across the AARNet3 next generation research network linking education and research institutions across Australia. Due to interconnections between AARNet3 and other research networks around the world, the services can be received in North America and Europe.

AARNet has recently written to the University asking for information on the legal standing of these services. We are providing the services under fair use for research and education provisions of the Copyright Act, and under the AVCC Screenrights Agreement with CAL.

At the moment the services going outside the campus are on the basis of an engineering trial: does the multicast technology that we use to reticulate the signals actually work as it should? For a number of reasons until recently the services have been unreliable and erratic, which has lead to a number of changes to network configurations, firmware in electronic equipment that manages traffic flow on these next-generation research networks being rewritten and upgraded, and more recently questions of the circumstances under which such services could be delivered in a more reliable way.

To date work on getting the streams to work reliably across the research networks has been done by engineers in AARNet, Internet2 and institutions across the various networks. The pioneering work done here is being recognised, and people everywhere are coming up with ideas of how they might use such services, should they be available on a reliable and accessible basis.

We are now discussing opportunities for teaching, learning and research using the technology in partnership with collaborators across Australia and beyond.