Pay-TV hunts Asian bars illegally showing sports

Three bars in Hong Kong have settled copyright infringement suits with the world football body FIFA and Pay-TV operator Hong Kong Cable Television's i-Cable for illegally broadcasting during the FIFA World Cup 2006 held in Germany. Carnegies, the Bridge and the Coyote Bar & Grill, made out-of-court settlements, agreeing to pay “substantial compensation” for the copyright infringement and covering the plaintiffs’ legal costs. All three also have to publish formal apology letters. Two additional Hong Kong bars, The White Stag and Devil’s Advocate, still have outstanding copyright claims against them.

Welcoming the decision, Simon Twiston Davies, the CEO of the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia noted: “The Hong Kong courts have once again emphasized the importance of intellectual property laws for broadcasters and the community at large. We certainly hope this message is clearly received and there is a full understanding that TV broadcasts of all kinds are protected by copyright. This outcome, in particular, delivers a clear message to the food and beverage industry that copyright must be determinedly respected at all times. Without such support the entire media and entertainment industry—a vital pillar of Hong Kong’s economy—is under threat.”

CASBAA also “remains committed to tracking down and prosecuting the suppliers of illegal Pay-TV equipment in Hong Kong . While the unauthorized display of Pay-TV services in public venues for commercial gain is of the greatest concern to the industry, the traders in illegal decoders are at the head of the supply chain and, as in previous cases, ‘will not be allowed to operate without sanction’.”