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Asia-Pac broadcast body, Casbaa to jointly fight piracy

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MUMBAI: The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa) agreed to work together to combat signal theft in the region at an ABU copyright seminar in Hong Kong on Thursday.



According to Caasba CEO Simon Twiston Davies, signal theft was increasing at a rate of 11 per cent a year in Asia, corroding the ability of the industry to grow. The cost of piracy of channels by unlicensed cable operators, under-declaring of subscriptions by licensed operators, and ad-blocking by cable operators, amounted to more than $1.2 billion a year in the Asian region, Davies claimed.



"Piracy is a big problem for our members in Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and India," he said.



ABU secretary-general David Astley told the seminar that many free-to-air channels were suffering signal theft too, and proposed that the two organisations work together where there were issues of common interest.



FTA broadcasters were suffering what the chief legal counsel of ABS-CBN, Philippines, Andrefanio Santos, described as both primary signal piracy and secondary signal piracy.



Santos explained that secondary signal piracy was where cable operators had pirated DTH (direct to home) satellite services that had already pirated the transmissions of free-to-air broadcasters.



"There being hundreds of cable operators in the Philippines, it is not expedient for ABS-CBN to seek legal action against each and every cable operator," he said.



Santos said his organisation was therefore focusing its legal action against the DTH operators. "Once the illegal broadcast by the DTH operator is finally stopped, it is evident that most of the unauthorized retransmission by the provincial cable operators will also stop," Santos said.



The ABU seminar, which was held in conjunction with its annual Copyright Working Party meeting, attracted delegates from Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, People's Republic of China, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.



Other issues that were discussed at the seminar included the protection of format rights and the negotiation of music licences and royalties.

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