Casbaa, Thai Dept of IP examine pay-TV piracy

MUMBAI: The Royal Thai Governments department of Intellectual property (DIP) and regional pay-TV industry body, the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa) , yesterday staged a high-level workshop on Intellectual Property Rights protection in Bangkok Thailand.

Opened by General of the DIP deputy director Boonaris Suwanapool and co-hosted by Casbaa CEO Simon Twiston Davies, the one-day forum attracted speakers from the US, Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The invited delegates included Thai IP court officials, officials from the Attorney Generals office, the Royal Thai Police, the Department of Customs and other officials and industry executives with responsibility for creating and enforcing vital intellectual property rights within Thailand.

Those presenting at the seminar included senior executives drawn from broadcasters Time Warner and ESPN Star Sports, European security firm Irdeto, the Motion Picture Association of America (representing the seven major Hollywood studios), global Intellectual property rights legal experts, Herbert Smith and Casbaa (representing 110 pay-TV related companies operating in the Asia Pacific).

One issue highlighted during todays forum was that while Asias pay-TV market is growing rapidly, and making substantial economic contributions, Thailand hasnt been benefiting as much as it should, said Davies. The meeting was in general agreement that this can change with newly pro-active approaches.

Meanwhile, it was claimed that among middle-income Asian countries Thailand remains the market with the worst piracy problem. Three out of every four households connected to Thai pay-TV systems are estimated to be tapping into pirated pay-TV programming. In the end, this damages everyones interests because every level of the value chain is a victim of theft, added Davies.

According to industry estimates, the cost of piracy to the community in Thailand is high to the industry and to the government, which loses at least 2.5 billion baht in taxes, fees and revenues every year, with the problem growing at a rate of about 20 per per year.

Speakers at the seminar generally agreed that while Thailand has made some incremental strides in the battle against Intellectual Property Rights theft, there was a need to create a modern, competitive industry, regulated on a level playing field.

Participants in the seminar looked forward to more effective law enforcement and increasingly severe penalties for pirate cable operators.

The development of effective regulatory agencies will hugely benefit Thailand, a country with proven media sophistication and clear economic achievements, stated Davies.

Its great to have so many of the stakeholders in Thailands pay-TV industry working together at a seminar like this, said Casbaa chairman Marcel Fenez. With the support of the likes of the Department of Intellectual Property and representatives of the IP courts standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the legitimate industry, progress has been made today.

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