Optus unable to appeal NRL, AFL ban

Optus' bid to appeal a court ruling preventing its customers from watching NRL and AFL matches on their mobile phones has failed.

The High Court in Sydney on Friday dismissed the telco's application for special leave to appeal.

A Federal Court ruling in May effectively ended Optus' TV Now service, which allowed its customers to watch recorded free-to-air TV programs on their mobile devices.

The AFL, NRL and Telstra took Optus to court, arguing the ability of Optus customers to stream matches on demand was a breach of copyright.

Telstra is the official internet rights holder for both football codes.

Optus on Friday said the High Court defeat would not be the end of the matter.

"We had hoped that the High Court of Australia would grant leave to appeal, but we are pleased that it will still be considered by the Australian Law Reform Commission," Optus' vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs David Epstein said in a statement.

"This is a debate that continues."

More than half of Australians watched content on their laptop or mobile device, and almost 40 per cent chose to download or stream TV, so the issue needed to be clarified and resolved, he said.

"Online storage is here and with us now, so we think it's time to confront the realities of that," Mr Epstein said.

"We can't shut ourselves off from the world."

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