Extract from¬ a research paper ¬ by the author of this website titled:
‚ÄėThe effectiveness and relevance of Australia’s Anti-Siphoning laws
in today’s television environment.‚Äô
The Anti-siphoning laws reside at s115 of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA). This section empowers the Minister (currently the for Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) to publish a list of events (not limited to sport) that should be available for viewing by the general public.
The current list of protected events runs from 1 January 2006 and expires on 31 December 2010. The list encompasses 30 events/matches/series/tournaments over 12 sports (including the Olympic and Commonwealth Games) such as all Tennis Grand Slam tournaments, each running of the Melbourne Cup and each International netball match involving Australia.
Whilst this list is extensive and encourages FTA to broadcast these events by ‚Äúremoving any incentive for a subscription service to ‚Äúlock away‚ÄĚ the exclusive rights‚ÄĚ, interestingly the laws do not:
(1)¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ prevent listed events from being broadcast on pay-TV; or
(2)¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ compel commercial or national broadcasters (SBS and ABC) to acquire the rights to broadcast these events
The laws merely provide the opportunity for FTA broadcasters, including the national broadcasters to acquire the rights to the events on the list before a pay-TV broadcaster, like Foxtel. If a FTA licensee does not acquire the rights or has the right to broadcast the event to more than 50% of the Australian population or the ABC or SBS hold the rights, then pay-TV can acquire the rights.
Events on the Anti-siphoning list can be removed by the following means:
- Events on the list are automatically de-listed 12 weeks before commencement of that specified event in order to provide pay-TV an opportunity to access the events if FTA does not intend to broadcast the event.¬ However, the Minister can override this provision.
- An event is also automatically removed from the list one week after the conclusion of the event.
- Finally, pursuant to s115(2) an event can be removed from the list at the discretion of the Minister.
Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth), s115; Seven Network Limited v News Limited  FCA 1062, 97.
Australian Communications and Media Authority, Sport (Anti-siphoning) (2008) Australian Communications and Media Authority <HTTP://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_91821> at 23 June 2008.
Australian Communications and Media Authority, Anti-siphoning list commencing 2006 (2008) Australian Communications and Media Authority <HTTP://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_91822> at 23 June 2008.
Foxtel Cable Television Pty Ltd v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd (1997) 73 FCR 429, 430-431; Seven Network Limited v News Limited  FCA 1062, 96.
Des Butler and Sharon Roddick, Australian media law (3rd ed, 2007), 585.
Australian Communications and Media Authority, above n 4.
Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy, Anti-siphoning and anti-hoarding (2008) Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy <http://www.dbcde.gov.au/media_broadcasting/policy_and_legislation/antisiphoning_and_antihoarding> at 23 June 2003.
Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth), s115(1B).