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HK bars agree to World Cup fine

Pay TV rights holders win settlement

HONG KONG — Pay TV rights holders came out victorious Tuesday when three Hong Kong bars agreed to pay compensation for illegally screening World Cup soccer matches carried by non-Hong Kong channels last year.

In an out-of-court settlement, the bars made payments to the Federation Intl. de Football Assn. (FIFA) and local pay TV operator Hong Kong Cable Television (Cable TV).

In a separate Hong Kong High Court action in July, the bars argued that FIFA and Cable TV had failed to supply sufficient evidence that the cable operator held exclusive rights for distribution of the World Cup soccer matches. The judge said the bars had provided no reason to doubt the licensing arrangements.

Decision was welcomed by plaintiff the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Assn. of Asia.

“The Hong Kong courts have once again emphasized the importance of intellectual property laws for broadcasters and the community at large,” said Casbaa CEO Simon Twiston Davies.

Two other Hong Kong bars have outstanding copyright claims against them.

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