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DBS Copyright Workshop – Pirates a threat to the airwaves

Piracy is the largest single threat to the survival of creative enterprises, a digital broadcasting conference has been warned.

Participants at a special workshop on content protection and copyright at the ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium in Kuala Lumpur on 6 March 2013 were told there were no specific laws applicable in most Asian countries that protect broadcasters from pirates or give broadcasters a right to seek legal action.

ABU Legal Officer Premila Manvi said it was vital that broadcasters and governments supported the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Broadcasters Treaty to provide adequate protection against signal theft on an international level. She said work was currently focused on drawing up an international instrument that protected the broadcasting organisation’s program-carrying signal from theft or other forms of unauthorised misappropriation.

“Piracy – the unlicensed use, reproduction, sale, or distribution of copyrighted material – is a serious concern of the digital era,” she said. “It is the largest single threat to the survival of creative enterprises.”

Earlier in the workshop, Datuk Sundra Rajoo, Director of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA), had briefed delegates on the different mechanisms for dealing with intellectual property and contract disagreements between parties in the broadcasting industry.

“In view of technological developments within the broadcast industry such as the move from analogue to digital systems, the emergence of mobile TV and others, more players are being brought into the arena,” he said.

“With the growth of the broadcast industry, more cross-border relations are forged, for example through multi-national distributorship contracts, copyright and intellectual property agreements.

“As with all commercial dealings, these relations may at times result in disputes,” he said.

 Datuk Rajoo outlined the different mechanisms available to resolve disputes without resorting to the courts, including mediation, conciliation, expert determination, adjudication and arbitration.

And he said it was important when parties were drawing up contracts or agreements that they should include specific references to how disputes should be settled, should they arise.