MENA TV piracy opposition group grows
Details
Rebecca Hawkes
| 22 September 2014
Six new organisations from the Middle East TV industry have joined the Broadcast Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition, following its second meeting recently in Cairo.


ART, IAA, The Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, Gulfsat, Rotana and WWE have now joined forces with the lobby group to help stamp out content copyright theft in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The coalition's combined efforts has led, it says, to 15 channels being taken off air since it launched in March 2014.

"Currently OSN and MBC are monitoring for infringements and have established a process of verification with the Studios. New members Rotana and ART have been invited to join this exercise," said a statement from the Broadcast Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition.

Hanya Atallah, copyright management manager, ART said: "Piracy of Arabic content causes tremendous damage to the whole media production sector, particularly here in Egypt. We now know that the piracy of both non-Arabic and Arabic content is basically perpetrated by the same group of people.

"What started as piracy of Hollywood content then mushroomed into whole TV channels airing only pirated, Egyptian Arabic films, is now stretching to include Arabic (mainly Egyptian, but also Syrian and Turkish) TV series. The sooner the legitimate members of the media sector and broadcasting sector in MENA co-operate to tackle this scourge, the better".

The Coalition was formed in March 2014 and its sole aim is to monitor piracy on satellite TV, ensure information about pirate channels is shared among legitimate industry players and coordinate action against the pirates. It now comprises Arabsat, ART, du, Egyptian Chamber of Cinema, Eutelsat, Gulfsat, IAA, JMC, MBC Group, Motion Picture Association of America (MPA), Nilesat, Noorsat, OSN, Rotana, STN, Viewsat and WWE.

Actions against illegitimate channels currently include shut downs, black outs, termination of contracts and working with advertisers to cease support of such channels. At the meeting, the Coalition members agreed to strengthen and speed up the process of identifying pirated material, communicating the details of the pirates to all members and jointly acting against them.

Tariq Shakeel, Head of Legal and Business Affairs at ViewSat commented: "ViewSat fully supports the Anti-Piracy Coalition, an important partnership in our industry, and it's vital that we have a unified approach to responding to intellectual property infringement".

Currently OSN and MBC are monitoring for infringements and have established a process of verification with the Studios. New members Rotana and ART have been invited to join this exercise. The Coalition also discussed how they could address the problem of pirated Arabic content. To date the focus has been upon international series and movies however analysis presented at the meeting indicates that there are currently 61 channels operating as pirates and 48 of these show Arabic movies.

Hanya Atallah, Copyright Management Manager at ART commented: "Piracy of Arabic content causes tremendous damage to the whole media production sector, particularly here in Egypt. We now know that the piracy of both non-Arabic and Arabic content is basically perpetrated by the same group of people. What started as piracy of Hollywood content then mushroomed into whole TV channels airing only pirated, Egyptian Arabic films, is now stretching to include Arabic (mainly Egyptian, but also Syrian and Turkish) TV series. The sooner the legitimate members of the media sector and broadcasting sector in MENA co-operate to tackle this scourge, the better".

The Coalition will meet next November in Jordan where Radi Al Khas, Chief Executive Officer of Jordan Media City, will take over the revolving chairman role.