IT was the historic Grand Slam final that had millions of sports fans glued to their screens.
As Andy Murray battled in New York for his first major title, across the pond Scottish tennis fans without Sky Sports were left to follow the drama on radio or via online updates.
But city leader Andrew Burns gave his Twitter following a helping hand on Monday night by posting a web link to a site streaming live footage of US Open men’s tennis clash.
Unfortunately for the councillor, it turned out to be a pirate site which is believed to have been broadcasting the final unlawfully. He tweeted to his 850 followers: “If you are not watching the tennis, I would log on right now,” before posting a link to the Murray match hosted on a pirate internet site.
Cllr Burns has since apologised for the blunder and deleted the offending tweets.
In a statement to the Evening News, he said: “Having just this afternoon [Wednesday] been made aware that my twitter-feed from Monday night contained a link to a pirate website, I’ve deleted the relevant tweets.”
Despite the mistake, legal experts suggested the council leader had nothing to worry about, admitting that live online streaming is a grey area, with watchdogs more likely to pursue the domain owner than an individual accessing the footage.
Duncan Spiers, a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University with expertise in intellectual property and copyright law, said: “It’s not an easy thing to ascertain whether there’s anything unlawful. The police would not be the slightest bit interested in prosecuting someone linking to a pirate streaming site who are not making any financial gain.” Deputy city leader Steve Cardownie said his colleague’s transgression was “out of character” and was unlikely to spark any political consequences.
“Andrew always give the impression that butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth but obviously that’s not the case,” he laughed. “I wouldn’t think there will be a leadership challenge in the Labour Group on the back of this however.”
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
WHILE the law is unclear over whether posting a weblink to a site streaming illegal copy is a breach of copyright, for those providing the pirated copy it is a very different matter. New measures set to be introduced by media watchdog Ofcom mean that details of customers suspected of infringing copyright three times in a year may be provided to copyright owners showing them which infringement reports are linked to that customer’s account. The copyright owner may then seek a court order.