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Casbaa clamps down in HK on unlicenced decoder sale

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HONG KONG: The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa) has confirmed that civil action was launched in Hong Kong on Monday against five companies for allegedly importing and trading in unlicensed satellite TV signal decoding equipment.

The plaintiffs named in the actions are Star TV, CNN, Turner Entertainment Network, ESPN Star Sports, Discovery and NGC Network.

There has been concern among Casbaa members since the beginning of the year that traders are selling decoders for services that are not licensed in Hong Kong. For example, pay TV service providers such as UBC of Bangkok, Astro of Kuala Lumpur and Dream of Manila are only authorised to distribute the channels mentioned earlier in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines respectively and are not legally authorized to distribute them in Hong Kong.

In mid-2002 the Casbaa-member channels hired an independent investigation firm to collect evidence against companies in Hong Kong that were selling equipment and subscriptions for various pay-TV services and packages that do not originate from Hong Kong.

"We see these actions as a 'heads-up' that commercial entities that do not pay the copyright owners for the right to distribute their signals will be taken to court," Casbaa CEO Simon Twiston Davies, was quoted as saying in an official release.

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