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CASBAA wins pay TV piracy ruling

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HONG KONG: Ever since last year member channels of the Cable and satellite broadcast association of Asia (CASBAA) have been concerned over the sale of decoders for services not licensed within Hong Kong. Now a High Court ruling should ease their worries.

 

The Hong Kong High Court entered judgment in favour of the plaintiffs in civil actions against the five remaining defendants for importing and trading in unauthorised satellite TV signal decoding equipment. In his ruling, the Judge granted an injunction prohibiting the defendants from trading in unauthorised smart cards and associated apparatus stating that such use was offensive and must be stopped.

 

The plaintiffs were Star, CNN, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, ESPN Star Sports, Discovery Networks Asia and NGC Network Asia. The defendants were Gamestar Technology Ltd., Philip Yeung Fei Lap trading as JP Technology, Tongyong Youhe, Li Ka Siu, and Flying Dragon Engineering. This follows an out of court settlement made in April. The two defendants Alpha Communications Technology and Andy Yeung Chun Wah admitted infringement of the plaintiffs' intellectual property rights. They made payment on account of damages and costs.



CASBAA CEO Simon Twiston Davies said: "With this action we have won an historic decision which unequivocally signals that our industry is tackling piracy which is costing our businesses hundreds of millions of US dollars each year. This was our first action in Hong Kong and new actions will soon be underway in other markets such as the Philippines and Thailand. This is vital work."



"The Hong Kong decision highlights the importance of protecting intellectual property rights in light of the huge investment made annually to develop great television content for the region. If these rights are not protected then investments will dry up and consumers will have their choice reduced," Davies said.



In middle of last year the CASBAA-member channels hired an independent investigation firm to collect evidence of various companies in Hong Kong that were publicly engaged in the business of selling equipment and subscriptions to individuals and commercial establishments to allow reception of various pay-TV services and packages that do not originate from Hong Kong.

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