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Calls for upgraded copyright protection for broadcasters

Speakers at an ABU forum on protecting broadcasters against signal piracy have stressed the need for international regulations on the issue to be upgraded.

The virtual forum took place on the second and final day of the 6th ABU Intellectual Property and Legal Committee (IPLC).

The Director General of the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka, Ms Geethanjali Ranawaka, said it was important that the legal framework protecting broadcasters be upgraded.

This should include changes to the definition of broadcasting to cover all digital methods of transmitting content.

Professor Zhang Zhao of the Copyright Management Centre, China Media Group, described the steps CMG had taken to protect the copyright on its coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Despite this, there had been some domestic and international infringements, he said. He called for an urgent upgrade of the 1961 Rome Convention protecting the copyright of broadcasters.

Mr Suranga Jayalath, Legal and Group Director of The Capital Maharaja Organization Limited, Sri Lanka, shared this view. “Digital piracy is one of the most important threats facing sports rights holders today,” he said.

Mr Jayalath, who is also Chairperson of the ABU IPLC, said the Rome Convention defined broadcasting as the transmission “by wireless means” of images and sounds.

The treaty did not provide adequate means to control piracy of broadcasts on the internet, mobile, webcasting or any other digital methods.

Mr Haruyuki Ichinohashi of the Copyright & Contracts Division, NHK-Japan, moderated the forum.