Satellite television

‘Satellite’ TV Companies Accused of ‘Stealing Intellectual Property’ in Liberia – FrontPageAfrica

Monrovia– FrontPageAfrica has seen documents that seem to indicate that some television companies, which provide satellite content to their customers, are doing so illegally.

The documents revealed that these “satellite” television companies operating illegally broadcast their content, including football matches, without the authorized consents of the various owners of their content.

These satellite TV companies include SATCON, NANA SAT, K3 Telecom and DSTV. Among these foreign-funded companies, the first three have been directly accused by some content owners of illegally distributing their content. The documents show that DSTV was not accused of stealing content to broadcast to its Liberian audience.

Among the content owners, including LaLiga, beIN SPORTS, SHOWTIME, CANA+ OVERSEA and PREMIER LEAGUE, they accuse these three companies of illegally broadcasting their content, mainly football matches.

LaLiga and the others have formally filed a complaint against these companies with the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), which is the arm of the Liberian government that exercises direct oversight over these television companies.

SATCON and the other companies also reportedly received carbon copies (ccs) of the complaints against them.

As FrontPageAfrica dug deeper into these allegations, he learned that only DSTV, which is a subsidiary of Multi Choice, has the exclusive right to broadcast Super Sports content in English, while CANA+ OVERSEA has the exclusive right to do so in French to their public Liberia.

According to the complaints filed with the LTA, beIN SPORTS, whose contents are also broadcast live in Liberia, states that their contents, in particular the football aspect, are not, for the moment, intended for sale in Liberia, but have been informed that their contents are broadcast live in Liberia by these companies.

“We understand that SuperSport International Limited is the licensee of the English Premier League in the territory of Liberia and that SuperSport has obtained the live television rights relating to the English Premier League competition over the three English football seasons commencing with the season 2013/2014″, beIN SPORTS communication said.

“We hereby confirm that the following should not be permitted in Liberia; import, sale or distribution of beIN decoding equipment; sale of subscription to watch the beIN SPORTS channels; use of beIN decoding equipment in connection with commercial rebroadcasting or distribution, e.g. broadcast station, cable TV operations, pubs, clubs, hotels, enclosures and viewing centers . »

Under LTA Part XI, the LTA may issue regulations, rules, or orders relating to one or more of the following: (a) requiring certain types of telecommunications equipment to be certified or approved before being imported, commercially supplied or attached to any telecommunications network; (b) identify certification criteria and/or approval standards for telecommunications equipment intended for use in connection with telecommunications services or telecommunications networks; (c) identify domestic or foreign organizations or test facilities for the certification or approval of telecommunications equipment for use in connection with telecommunications services or telecommunications networks; or (d) establish a register of the types of certified or approved telecommunications equipment, certification criteria and approval standards.

The law also provides that the LTA may enter into mutual recognition or similar agreements with authorities in other countries to provide for recognition of equipment certification or type approvals performed in the other country and/or Liberia.

In Spanish La Liga Santander’s complaint, under the signature of its legal director Maria José López Lorenzo dated May 13, 2019, they told both NANASAT and SATCON: “We hereby inform you that the operator of television Super Sports is authorized to broadcast the matches of the LaLiga competitions in all languages, with the exception of the Spanish and French languages ​​on the territory of Liberia.In addition, the operator Cana+ international has authorized the broadcasting in French of the matches LaLiga competitions in Liberia.

Ms López Lorenzo said Super Sports informed them that this exclusive right was also used by the stations mentioned above.

“SuperSport has informed us that you are broadcasting audiovisual content of LaLiga competitions to the public without the prior authorization or consent of LaLiga, Super Sports or Cana+ International. In relation to the above, we inform you that the acts of infringement mentioned above seriously infringe our exclusive license agreement,” warned the LaLiga legal director.

“Consequently, you are required to immediately cease any act of dissemination, and more broadly, any communication to the public of the audiovisual content of the LaLiga competition (live or not, in whole or in part), and within three calendar days following receipt of this letter confirms that you have complied with our request.

LaLiga have threatened to take legal action against TV companies if they don’t stop broadcasting its content.

In 2016, Cana+ International also wrote the LTA to complain about a similar content violation by certain companies operating in Liberia.

“We confirm that we are a sub-licensee of SuperSport for the English Premier League in French in the territories of sub-Saharan Africa, including in the territory of Liberia on a non-exclusive basis over time. We hereby confirm that no cable operator, pub, hotel or rebroadcast operator has been authorized by Canal+ OVERSEAS to broadcast and/or market our content/signal without our authorization and consent is illegal and causes us harm. irreparable. the letter said.

NANASAT and SATCON declined to comment on the matter after multiple visits to their offices for comment. Staff at SATCON’s office in Congo Town refused to give our reporter an audience after the issue was explained to them.

For NANASAT on Benson Street, the four letter word, F**** was used on our reporter when explaining the nature of the story to the staffs of this entity.

However, LTA, which regulates this sector, said FrontPageAfrica that they could not verify the communications of LaLiga, beIN SPORTS, SHOWTIME, CANA+ OVERSEA and PREMIER LEAGUE as to whether or not SATCON, NANASAT and others have the rights to broadcast the games.

LTA’s Director of Public Affairs, Ms. Jarsea Burphy, replied, “LTA has not received any verifiable letters from any of the entities listed above.”

She noted that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the world’s governing body for telecommunications, has issued two general guidelines requiring all member states to adhere to minimum standards for the acquisition and use of equipment.

The ITU requires that all equipment used does not cause interference with other legitimately assigned frequencies and does not present an environmental hazard to the public.

She further stated that LTA will need the coordinated efforts of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to effectively enforce compliance.