By WENDY KAN
HONG KONG –The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Assn. of Asia claimed a victory in its war against pay TV piracy Thursday.
It reached out-of-court settlements in civil action cases against two defendants for importing and trading in unlicensed satellite television signal decoding equipment.
The defendants, Alpha Communications Technology and Andy Yeung, admitted infringement of intellectual property rights and paid an undisclosed sum. The plaintiffs named in the actions are Star, CNN, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia , Espn Star Sports, Discovery Asia and NGC Network Asia. Five other cases taken by the plaintiffs are still pending.
The defendants are now barred from importing into Hong Kong and selling any smart cards or decoders that are obtained from distributors outside Hong Kong. They have also agreed not to renew subscriptions from customers, have turned over pay TV decoders in their possession and identified the retail supplier in Thailand.
“This is about far more than the rights of the copyright owners names in these cases,” said CASBAA CEO Simon Twiston Davies. “It’s about the long-term need to protect the consumer’s right to more choice, which is brought about by fresh investment in content. This investment in content doesn’t happen in an environment where millions of dollars leak each year from the chain of distribution.”