Monday, September 18, 2006

Hong Kong broadcaster wins piracy case in China

A Hong Kong broadcaster has said it won damages from a Chinese web portal for illegally distributing its programmes on the Internet, in what is believed to be the first such piracy case victory in China by an outside claimant.

Television Broadcasts (TVB), the city's largest terrestrial broadcaster said it had won 200,000 yuan (25,000 US) from Chinese-language portal for distributing four of its programmes, including 2003 Miss Hong Kong Pageant final.

The portal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Telecom, the mainland's largest fixed-line operator.

It was TVB's first successful infringement case in China, it said, and media reports in Hong Kong said it was the first time a non-Chinese company had successfully sued a Chinese firm for programme piracy.

The high court's verdict in southern China's Guangdong province came after the web owner sought to overturn a lower court ruling that it had committed copyright infringement.

"TVB is most pleased with the judgement as it sets precedent in China that copyrights should be respected," the company said in a statement. "However, fighting against piracy is an extremely tough battle."

The court was unable to confirm the result.

While the mainland company has removed the four programmes in question from its website, it continues to distribute other TVB shows without permission.

The broadcaster said it is taking further action to stop infringement.

China is one of the world's counterfeiting hotspots, with anything from the unlicensed manufacture of branded clothing to the broadcast of movies and television shows without permission a concern to international efforts to clamp down on the multi-billion-dollar trade.

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse


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