HONG KONG – The Philippines’ Intellectual Property Office has served its first ever temporary restraining order against a pirate cable operator.
The order prevents Turtle Cable, a company in Baao, Camarines Sur province, from re-distributing international TV channels for which it does not have a distribution contract. Further arguments on the case will be heard in June and July before a final injunction will be considered.
“This is an important test case,” said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO of industry org The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia. “At the end of the process, if the IPO issues an injunction and the cable company persists, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be asked to revoke Turtle Cable’s operating license. This procedure was spelled out in rules finalized last year under an inter-agency Memorandum of Agreement between the IPO and the NTC.”
Cable piracy is rampant in the Philippines. Last year CASBAA estimated that for every Philippine home wired for legitimate cable TV, at least one viewed pirated programs. That costs the industry $85 million dollars annually in lost revenue and cost the Philippine government of $38 million in tax payments.
CASBAA says it is urging the Philippine courts to move ahead with the pending criminal cases against Cotabato City cable operator Maguindanao Skycable. The Department of Justice recently reaffirmed its determination finding probable cause for filing charges against the company.