Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Committee votes down amendment to broadcasting act

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A proposed amendment to the Broadcasting and Television Act (廣播電視法) was voted down at the legislative Transportation Committee yesterday after it ran into opposition from government officials, legislators and TV station representatives.

The draft proposal from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德) and 17 other legislators sought to add a new clause to Article 7 of the Broadcasting and Television Act stipulating that programs produced by Public Television Service (PTS) and other terrestrial TV networks must be aired free of charge on broadcasting platforms, such as Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand system.

The amendment also forbade PTS and other terrestrial TV networks from altering content when providing programs to broadcasting platforms and sought to exempt platforms airing such content from intellectual property rights provisions. It also proposed ­designating channels from PTS and other terrestrial TV networks as “must-carry” for the same platforms.

NCC chairperson Bonnie Peng (彭芸) said the NCC must clearly define the term “broadcasting platform” before it further considers the amendment.

The amendment would make it difficult for terrestrial TV networks to negotiate broadcasting rights with program suppliers and could potentially raise the costs of purchasing TV series abroad, she said.

KMT Legislator Yang ­Ren-fu (楊仁福) and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said they were concerned that the amendment could infringe on current regulations on intellectual property rights.

“Platform operators charge consumers to view content displayed on their platforms, so if they fail to pay royalties for aired content, they could be considered to be making illegal profits,” Yang said.

Peng said the age of free TV content was over, adding that terrestrial TV channels in the US generally negotiate deals with operators.

“The commission would be glad to see operators negotiating deals among themselves,” she said.

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