Chinese broadcasters sue US pirates

Staff writer
30 Mar 2015

Chinese-language TV broadcasters have filed a lawsuit in the US against companies promoting and selling streaming media boxes that deliver pirated TV content.

Citing press reports, CASBAA, the association of Asia Pacific pay-TV players, said Hong Kong’s TVB, China’s CCTV and US satellite TV provider Dish filed the suit in California, accusing several companies of promoting a brand of pirate TV player called TVPad.

These so-called 'black box' streaming media players are manufactured and sold by multinational criminal syndicates, whose upstream arms intercept and stream copyrighted TV channels and programs over the Internet.

John Medeiros, CASBAA's chief policy officer, said the proliferation of such devices is a deadly problem for Asian and international television industries. “Governments are only beginning to take this problem seriously, and it is profoundly weakening their creative content producers.”

CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter noted that Asian content industries are hard-hit by unrestrained export of these boxes to North America, Europe and Australia. “There are substantial niche markets for Asian content in those places, where consumers have a high ability to pay,” he said.

He added that with pirates “stealing” those markets, Asian TV companies are unable to expand investment in new content to meet the needs of the digital era. International companies and pay-TV platforms doing business in Asia also face a similar problem, he said.

Medeiros noted that last year, India and Hong Kong both acted to raid "upload points" for pirate streaming media syndicates, where local programming was being streamed onto pirate networks.

“Those were great actions,” Medeiros said, “and governments have to persevere. If the syndicates are allowed to operate with impunity, the television industry will be decimated.”

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