P.League+ chief executive officer Chen Chien-chou (陳建州) has sparked controversy after allegedly watching Olympic Game broadcasts on an illicit streaming device.
The basketball league boss on July 24 posted a photograph of Taiwan’s judo star Yang Yung-wei (楊勇緯) to show his support for Taiwanese Olympians.
However, the photograph was of content being streamed via a Ubox produced by the Chinese firm Unblock Tech, which is deemed an illicit streaming device.
Chen initially said the image came from a friend, but his wife, singer Christine Fan (范瑋琪), had also posted photographs from their home of Ubox content on TV, prompting Chen to issue a public apology on Sunday.
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) was also accused of watching the Games using an illicit streaming device, but he said he pays for legal content with a monthly subscription to Kbro cable network, using an authorized TV box.
Some people condemned Chen’s actions online and expressed concern that it might undermine the future of the P.League+, which is facing competition from the Super Basketball League and this year’s new T1 League.
As the P.League+’s chief executive, Chen has to negotiate broadcasting rights with sports networks, they said.
He has also urged fans to support the league by watching paid-for TV broadcasts and not using illegal streaming services, they said.
Under the Copyright Act (著作權法) it is illegal “to provide to the public computer programs or other technology that can be used to publicly transmit or reproduce works, with the intent to allow the public to infringe [the] economic rights ... of another [person], without the consent of or a license from the economic rights holder, and to receive benefit therefrom.”
Under Article 87 of the act, it is illegal “to manufacture, import or sell equipment or devices preloaded with ... computer programs” used to access such works via the Internet.
Taiwan Intellectual Property Office officials said that while people who have bought illicit streaming devices would not face criminal charges, the public is not encouraged to do so.
“Viewing the downloaded content in itself is not illegal, but selling the device contravenes the law,” the officials said, adding that if a vendor continues to sell it, after learning that the device can download pirated materials, then they could be charged and face maximum of two years in prison, as well as a fine of up to NT$500,000.
Additional reporting by Huang Pei-chun
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