Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

IP court sides with ERA TV chair in World Cup dispute

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

ELTA Technology Co chief executive Sally Chen is pictured yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Taipei.

Photo: Chang Hui-wen, Taipei Times

The Intellectual Property Court yesterday ruled in favor of ERA Communications Co chairman Lien Tai-sheng (練台生), whose company operates ERA TV (年代電視台) and other cable television channels and who stood accused of infringing on ELTA TV’s (愛爾達電視) exclusive broadcasting rights for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Executives of ELTA TV, a sports channel on Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand (MOD) system, accused Lien and then-ERA TV general manager Wu Chien-chiang (吳健強) of violating their business agreement by providing World Cup broadcast ing to digital broadcasters, which screened the games on digital TV channels nationwide.

ELTA TV, which held the exclusive rights on 2014 World Cup broadcasts in Taiwan, filed a lawsuit at the Taipei District Court, accusing ERA TV of serious violations and illegal broadcasting.

The company also sought financial compensation for rights infringement through the Intellectual Property Court.

The Intellectual Property Court yesterday ruled in favor of Lien and Wu regarding ERA TV’s screening of 44 out of the 64 matches of the World Cup.

ELTA TV chief executive Sally Chen (陳怡君) said it was difficult for her company to accept the ruling.

“If copyrights on content are not protected, then how could the television and entertainment industries produce more new and creative programs?” she said in a statement. “If our nation’s justice system cannot guarantee copyright protection for businesses that purchase programming from abroad, then who will pay large sums of money to secure the rights for international sports events in Taiwan?”

“This is not good for the development of our industry and it is not good for the Taiwanese public,” she wrote.

ELTA TV on November 25 last year won its lawsuit the Taipei District Court, which found Lien and Wu guilty and handed each a six-month sentence for violations of the Copyright Act (著作權法).

However, Lien and Wu did not have to serve their sentences, since the judges permitted each defendant to pay a NT$540,000 fine instead.

ELTA TV paid an undisclosed sum of money to FIFA to become the exclusive rights holder for the 2014 World Cup, with the agreement covering TV, Internet, radio and mobile devices, as well as a partnership with telecommunications firm Chunghwa Telecom, which had the online streaming rights for mobile devices and computers.

ELTA then entered into an agreement with ERA TV, authorizing it to broadcast games on its cable channels, including MUCH TV, but not on digital TV, to which millions of Taiwanese households subscribe.

ERA provided World Cup signal feed to Kbro, a cable systems operator affiliated with ERA, and to other local network companies, which screened matches for digital TV channels across Taiwan.

“ERA has knowingly breached the broadcast agreement and has made profit through these illegal actions,” ELTA said at the time.

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