Lawmakers yesterday urged people to watch the Olympic Games on legal streaming services only, and condemned former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and other public figures who have allegedly been viewing pirated programming on illegal streaming devices.
The government must clamp down on such practices and implement stricter controls on illegal streaming devices, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers and Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) told a media briefing in Taipei.
“It is tough to invest in and operate businesses related to the sports industry in Taiwan. People watch pirated programs by downloading them illegally and affect the revenues of companies that were willing to pay for authorized licensing and legal content,” DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said, adding that those companies could stop investing in Taiwan.
That was what happened to Fox Sports, as it terminated its three sports channels in Taiwan at end of last year due to the prevalence of illegal streaming, Chuang said.
“Illegal streaming causes a vicious cycle. With no new investment coming in, Taiwan’s sports programming market shrinks year after year... It is a big loss for Taiwan’s viewers, who are left with dwindling choices,” he said.
The issue attracted public attention after P.League+ chief executive officer Chen Chien-chou (陳建州) and Chu were accused of watching Olympic broadcasts using illicit streaming devices at their homes.
Chu and Chen Chien-chou posted messages on social media, with photographs of Taiwan’s athletes in action at the Tokyo Games, to show their support.
However, the photographs were of content being streamed via a Ubox produced by the Chinese firm Unblock Tech, which is deemed an illicit streaming device, sparking a backlash online.
Chu insisted he that pays for legal content with a monthly local cable TV subscription, and that he used a “sanitized version” of the Ubox, with no software for illegal streaming.
Lawmakers at the briefing disputed his claim.
“It looks bad for Chu, trying to deceive the public about his use of a Ubox,” Chen Po-wei said. “This is a man who has recently declared that he plans to run for KMT chairman, but he installs a Chinese-made device to watch pirated content, and other Chinese-produced programming.”
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