MultiChoice Ghana, with the assistance of the Ghana Police and the National Communications Authority, have recently been successful in arresting and prosecuting individuals who have been involved in the illegal distribution of DStv services through cabling to numbered homes.
MultiChoice Africa Limited (“MultiChoice”) is the provider of the encrypted multi-channel satellite television service known as “DStv” in the territory of Sub Sahara Africa and surrounding Indian Ocean Islands, including Ghana whilst MultiChoice Ghana Limited is a licensed pay television support provider which has provided management services for Multichoice Africa in Ghana for over 19 years, and has done so with the support of regulatory bodies like the National Communication Authority during the period.
In the last few months we have seen an invasion of piracy employing different distribution technologies including cable, terrestrial broadcast, smartcard, rebroadcasting, grey mark, and multi dwelling piracy. These pirate operations directly infringe upon the copyrighted channels we manage through the DStv, GOtv and DVB-H platforms. Any piracy introduced in the country has significant adverse impact not only on our business, but the broadcast business and impacts on the continuous loss of tax revenue to the State. It also constitutes a contravention of the provisions of the International Brussels Convention (“the satellite convention”) of 1994, which prohibits the distribution of programme carrying signals transmitted by satellite in the absence of due authorization.
Piracy is a huge drain on the national budget as these illegitimate providers are not licensed and do not pay license fees or taxes to government. As a result, they do not contribute to the economic development of the country.
These actions also constitute an unlawful infringement of the copyright registered in the name of MultiChoice. It also constitutes a contravention of the provisions of the International Brussels Convention (“the International Satellite Convention”) of 1994, which prohibits the distribution of programme-carrying signals transmitted by satellite in the absence of due authorisation. It also violates the provisions of the Copyright Act, 2005 (Act 690).
MultiChoice and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), at a recent piracy forum, advised television viewers to check that the operation that they are subscribing to is legitimate in terms of its content rights and technology. Failing to do so may result in the loss of any investment that has been made in receiving equipment. .
Multichoice and GIBA will also be stepping up its activities to curb this infringement and will be taking legal action against any individuals and organisations that are caught.
Cecil Sunkwa – Mills, General Manager of Multichoice Ghana commented “Piracy has a detrimental impact on the whole television, production and music industry which will lead to the erosion of many livelihoods – especially for artists’, actors, musicians and filmmakers’ as it infringes directly on copyright and as a result any payment for the work these artist produce. Piracy also has a detrimental effect on the economy as these operations are not registered businesses and hence do not contribute to tax, employment or the growth of the television industry in Ghana”.
The GIBA President, Mr Akwasi Agyeman emphasised that the forum was a good first step at educating all stakeholders on the life cycle of content, right ownership and piracy, so as to ensure that all the players in the industry are made aware of the criminal aspect and consequences of piracy.
Speakers at the event included Mr Wiru of the National Media Commission, Mrs Falconer, an ICT expert, Tony Forson, Legal Counsel to Multichoice, the General Manager of Piracy, Frikkie Jonker and Akwasi Agyeman, the President of GIBA and was attended by members of GIBA, other broadcasters (print and electronic), content providers as well as Internal Revenue, The Copyright Office and other stakeholders.
NOTES ON PIRACY:
Cable piracy is where a legal DSTV subscriber offers to share his signal with one or more of his neighbors. In more serious cases, a company or a person will buy a few DSTV smartcards and will distribute a number of channels via a cable network to subscribers for a monthly subscription fee. False information will be given by the subscriber during the enabling process of the smartcard.
Re-broadcasting piracy occurs where a SUD = Single Unit Dwelling DSTV smartcard(s) is activated illegally and utilized to transmit DSTV channels in the clear. Only a television set and an antenna will be required by a viewer to view our channels.
DSTV and other international pay television channels e.g. ART, ShowTime, Star TV, SABC, ETV and TenSports are utilized illegally by pirate broadcasters on the African continent.
Grey mark piracy occurs where DSTV smartcards are being sold outside Sub-Sahara Africa and utilized illegally in regions such as the Middle East and Asia.
False information will be given by the pirate viewer living outside Sub-Sahara Africa during the activation process of a DSTV smartcard(s) e.g. a number of pirate outlets selling our smartcards illegally in the Middle East / Asia will travel to Africa and buy DSTV smartcards and will provide false information during the activation process giving the impression they are living in Africa.
Grey mark smartcards of Middle Eastern pay television companies e.g. BeIN Sport and TenSports are also sold illegally into Sub-Sahara Africa.
SUD = Single Unit Dwelling Subscription
MUD = Multi Unit Dwelling Subscription
SUD to MUD piracy occurs where a company or person activates a DSTV smartcard, sometime more than one smartcard, as a SUD subscription. One or more of our channels are then being transmitted illegally to hotels, flats, compounds and housing complexes.
False information will be given by the subscriber during the enabling process of the smartcard(s).
For further information contact:
MCG PR/Communications: Anne Sackey
Tel: 0302 740540
GIBA Executive Secretary: Kwasi Asare
Tel : 0302 251910