Underbelly: articles

Nine kicked in belly again

THE hype surrounding the Victorian airing of Underbelly could soon fade, as all 13 episodes of the gangland drama are now available online.

Despite court orders forbidding the gangland drama's broadcast in Victoria because of an underworld murder trial, viewers can now get access to all episodes via file-sharing internet sites.

The Nine Network is appealing against the court decision to ban the series in Victoria.

The show is a ratings winner in other states

While episodes 1-9 have been readily available online and on the streets for some time, share-site Mininova is now offering episodes 10-13 for download, allowing fans access to the complete series before an episode has hit Victorian television.

The availability of the much-hyped drama, which cost about $1 million an episode to produce, could be a costly blow for Nine.

A Nine spokesperson said the network would not comment while the matter was before the courts.

As well as the prospect of serious copyright charges, those making Underbelly copies risk prosecution for breaching a Supreme Court suppression order banning broadcast in Victoria.

Last week, police seized dozens of pirated episodes in a major counterfeit DVD bust in Sunshine North. The DVDs carried Underbelly episodes 1-9.

The future of the series is now in the hands of three judges.

In court, Nine's legal team has suggested that if the Court of Appeal rules in its favour, the first two episodes could be aired in Victoria before the start of the impending gangland murder trial.

By Brendan Roberts
March 17, 2008
Herald Sun