Battle heats up, first salvo fired: Lightbox and allies take Call Plus and Bypass Network Services to court over Global Mode

Battle heats up, first salvo fired: Lightbox and allies take Call Plus and Bypass Network Services to court over Global Mode
Game of Thrones picture owned by HBO
Four New Zealand competitors have requested an expedited hearing from the court against Call Plus and Bypass Network Services to stop them offering Global Mode, which allows viewers to bypass geo-specific video-on-demand content.

Lightbox, MediaWorks, SKY and TVNZ have today filed legal proceedings against Call Plus and Bypass Network Services in relation to the on-going promotion of Global Mode.

Acting together, the four New Zealand competitors have requested an expedited hearing to provide certainty on the issue as quickly as possible. 

“We are seeking to protect our legitimate copyrighted content.  Call Plus and Bypass Network Services are breaching this by creating a platform that is designed to access unlicensed content and also through their on-going promotion of service.”

The companies say Call Plus and Bypass Network Services made a last minute request for further legal information pertaining to the case – which they were provided with in good faith. 

“Based on the responses we have received it is clear they intend to continue operating Global Mode so the only way forward is to seek clarification from the courts.

“Call Plus have openly claimed their service is specifically designed to circumvent legitimate content rights and have misrepresented its legality to the New Zealand public.

“Regardless of the size of your business, no company should be able to operate outside the law and by doing so inflict considerable loss on others.

"This is not about taking action against individual consumers. Our companies invest over $300 million annually in content rights, we have an obligation to our various stakeholders to protect those rights and are confident of our legal position," according to the press release issued.

The four businesses are liaising with studios and content owners to determine how they might participate to protect the unlawful infringement of their rights to sell and distribute content.

Across the ditch, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that HBO has been writing to customers in Australia warning them that those accessing HBO's latest season of Game of Thrones, will be cut off from April 21. Some Australians have been using geo-blocking bypassing tools such as Getflix or Unblock.us to access the latest Game of Thrones series.

Call Plus had up until last week maintained this position: "We stand by our strongly-held belief that access to the internet via Global Mode is completely legal, and believe threats of legal action from this gang of big media companies are just an attempt to restrict consumer choice in favour of their profits."