Sky TV loses bid to block use of Olympic footage

8:20 pm on 12 August 2016

The failure of Sky TV's High Court attempt to stop Fairfax NZ from using Olympic clips on its website is a victory for press freedom, says Fairfax.

Lauren Boyle in the women's 800m freestyle heat.

Clips of Lauren Boyle in action at the Olympics could be used under the 'fair use' argument. Photo: AFP

A High Court judge has today refused to issue an injunction to stop Fairfax using clips from Sky's Olympic coverage on its Stuff website.

Fairfax claimed a fair dealing right to use part of Sky's coverage in a limited way.

In a ruling today, Justice Fogarty upheld Fairfax's right to use short video clips on its website, though he said in some cases the coverage had gone beyond what was fair.

Fairfax group editor Sinead Boucher said it was a great day for all New Zealanders who wanted to follow and support the country's Olympic heroes.

She said Fairfax had strong support in court from TVNZ and NZME, who shared concerns about the right for media to cover events of national significance.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman said it was not realistic to require international sport to be played live on free-to-air television.

New Zealand First has been critical of the decision by Sky to delay Olympic coverage on its free-to-air channel Prime, while events were broadcast live to its paying viewers.

Sports spokesperson Clayton Mitchell said the government should follow Australia and Britain and require broadcasters to show major sporting events, such as the Olympics, on free-to-air television.

But Mr Coleman said that would come at a cost for taxpayers.

"If you look at the fiscal position of governments in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, we're the country where we are managing to balance our books, and all the things that you're talking about, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay the bill for that coverage."

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