Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Kbro loses on World Cup in court

KERFUFFLE OVER CUP:The court ruled in favor of ELTA TV amid a row with ERA TV that saw FIFA threatening to suspend ELTA’s access to coverage of the World Cup games

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei District Court yesterday granted ELTA TV’s petition to ban cable service operator Kbro from airing World Cup soccer games on its digital cable TV service for seven days.

The ruling was quickly followed by another injunction petition by ELTA to ban Kbro from airing any unauthorized content until the World Cup ends on July 13.

ELTA said that the court’s decision would not affect Kbro’s cable service subscribers, as the majority of them can watch digital and analog channels on the cable system that carries the games.

The dispute between ELTA and ERA TV caused soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, to send an official notice to ELTA asking the television company to protect the media rights granted to it by the federation.

“Any failure to do so may result in the suspension by FIFA of ELTA’s access to the signal of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and/or the termination by FIFA of ELTA’s license of the rights,” FIFA said in the notice.

ELTA secured the exclusive rights to broadcast all FIFA World Cup matches in Taiwan. It subsequently authorized ERA TV to air the games as well.

However, the digital television network contended that its contract with ERA TV states specifically that the games can be broadcast only on cable television (transmitted in analog signals), terrestrial TV and satellite TV channels, and they could not be aired on digital cable channels.

Kbro is affiliated with Taiwan Mobile, while ELTA TV is a subsidiary of Chunghwa Telecom.

The clause prohibiting broadcast of the World Cup on digital cable TV channels in the contract between ELTA and ERA was stipulated because Kbro and Chunghwa have digital services that compete with each other.

However, Kbro advertised its digital service by saying that it would allow subscribers to watch World Cup games because ERA TV is in its channel lineup.

Prior to taking the matter to court, ELTA had asked ERA to remedy the situation, but ERA said it could not interfere with Kbro’s operations.

ELTA then filed for an injunction against both ERA TV and Kbro, saying that ERA had violated its contract by allowing the World Cup games to be broadcast on digital cable channels.

ERA TV also filed for an injunction to ensure that the broadcast of the World Cup would continue from Friday last week until today.

ERA also filed for a provisional injunction seeking to prohibit ELTA from suspending the transmission of broadcast signals before the World Cup ends on July 13. The court is scheduled to rule on this today.

ELTA and ERA also sought arbitration through the National Communications Commission.

Andy Hsieh (謝煥乾), director of the commission’s communication management department, met with representatives from both companies.

The companies apparently had different interpretations of the terms of the contract, he said.

“I was puzzled as to why the two parties signed such a strange contract that excluded digital cable television channels from broadcasting authorized content,” he said, adding that neither side would back down during the arbitration, so no compromise could be reached.

Hsieh said ELTA is now negotiating with other cable TV channels, and asked the company not to sign other contracts and to ensure that audiences can continue watching the World Cup.

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