On 8th July 2015, a team from the Multichoice Anti-Piracy Department, and the Ghana Police CID in Techiman, raided a Cable Piracy operator by name Solomon Agyei and his brother Nana Kwame in Wangara Line; a suburb of Techiman, and seized DStv decoders and smart cards that were being used in the cable piracy operations to other areas in and around Techiman.
Earlier in the year, MultiChoice Ghana, with the assistance of the Ghana Police, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and the National Communications Authority (NCA), held a piracy forum and cautioned television viewers to ensure that the services that they subscribe to are legitimate in terms of its content rights and technology. Producers and broadcasters were also educated on content rights. At the forum, it was emphasized that content piracy would result in the loss of any investment that had been made in illegally purchasing receiving equipment and content.
In the last few years the TV industry has seen an increase in piracy, employing various distribution techniques. With the emergence of faster and more reliable internet connections, content piracy has become easier and many Ghanaians assume that piracy is restricted to content piracy, which occurs when copyright laws are disregarded and content is reproduced or redistributed without seeking the necessary approvals and licenses.
Other forms of piracy include cable, terrestrial broadcast, smartcard, re-broadcasting, grey mark, and multi dwelling piracy and in Ghana, piracy operations directly infringe upon copyrighted channels managed through the DStv, GOtv and DVB-H platforms. The raid in Techiman was a direct result of efforts between the Ghana Police and MultiChoice Ghana to serve as a deterrent and a reminder that piracy of all forms are illegal and punishable by law.
Piracy constitutes a violation 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. It also violates the provisions of the Copyright Act, 2005 (Act 690).
Piracy is having a significant and adverse impact not only on Pay TV business, but also on local production, pay-TV subscriptions, advertising revenues, cinema attendance and legal DVD sales and also brings about a continuous loss of tax revenue to the state as these illegitimate providers are not licensed and do not pay license fees or taxes to government. It also a great loss of revenue for film and content producers, actors – both local and foreign, TV stations, cinemas and the rest of the value chain that may have invested in keeping broadcasting alive in Ghana. In Nigeria. Consumers are also shortchanged; the media industry, the economy, and citizens who now have reduced access to quality content suffer alongside them
Solomon Agyei and Nana Kwame have currently been granted bail of GHc 10,000 each following their guilty plea and are out of jail. They have however been cautioned not to leave Techiman. The next hearing is scheduled for the 7th of August 2015.