Optus has sought a Federal Court ruling preventing AFL chief Andrew Demetriou from claiming the telco's TV Now recording service is a form of "stealing".
The carrier sought an interlocutory injunction this week against the sporting boss over claims made in a Herald Sun article published on Sunday, in which Demetriou told consumers to stop subscribing to the telco.
"The thought of Optus deciding to lift our content and not pay for it, and pretend and purport to be doing it for the consumer, is a complete disgrace," Demetriou told the Herald Sun.
"They are not paying for it; they are lifting it. It is akin to stealing and all it will do is that if sports can't rely on that revenue, they will slug the consumers."
In an interlocutory application filed on Tuesday - two days after the comments were published - Optus sought leave from Justice Richard Edmonds to file proceedings against Demetriou.
"Optus believes the recent statements made by Mr Demetriou in the Herald Sun are misleading and deceptive in relation to stealing and lifting content," Optus corporate affairs manager Clare Gill said.
"We are disappointed to see the AFL continue this line and as a result Optus is taking the relevant legal action to defend our name."
Justice Edmonds is set to hear the interlocutory application on Thursday afternoon.
Optus had filed a document detailing the "genuine steps" taken between the article's publication and the application's filing but this had been kept from public viewing at time of writing.
This week's case is the latest bout in an ongoing match between the number two telco against sporting codes AFL, NRL and rival Telsra over the legality of the recording service, which jeopardises exclusive internet broadcast rights contracts.
The court held this month that the service fell into the same slot as "time-shifting" provisions afford to consumers who use a VCR or personal video recorder to watch a TV broadcast after the fact.
The sporting codes and Telstra have appealed the decision, with a full bench of the Federal Court to hear the arguments over two days in March.