Wang Jianquan, director for IPTV rights protection at CCTV’s national online TV station CNTV, revealed recently that CNTV has filed a suit in the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, alleging that BesTV New Media and Guangzhou Telecom’s local IPTV service infringed on its information network broadcasting rights to CCTV programs.
Under Chinese law, courts generally require a separate lawsuit for each case of infringement. Wang said that CNTV plans to file suits in more than 50 cities in which it alleges that BesTV infringed upon its rights. Assuming 20 cases of infringement per city, CNTV could file more than 1,000 copyright suits, should it choose to prosecute every case.
A spokesperson for CNTV’s IPTV division said the company had been left with no choice but to file the lawsuit.
“BesTV has been making illegal use of CCTV’s channels and programming for years,” the spokesperson said. “And we have been calling on them to cease their infringement for just as long, to no avail. Tolerating the brazen theft of our London Olympics programming would open a Pandora’s box – if they are allowed to get away with it, then who would ever bother paying the large sums of money required to secure rebroadcast rights for the World Cup or future Olympic Games?”
A source close to BesTV said that disputes over CNTV and BesTV’s joint venture were the real reason behind CNTV’s attack on BesTV over Olympic rights. The JV established by the two companies in February 2012 operates China’s only national-level centralized integrated IPTV broadcast and control platform. The source speculated that CNTV could be using the copyright dispute to express dissatisfaction with the JV’s lack of progress.
Document 43, issued by China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) this June, dictated that China Central Television (CCTV) will hold the sole license for a centralized integrated IPTV broadcast and control platform, and that provincial-level stations will only be able to apply for local sub-platform licenses. The document meant that BesTV, which had formerly operated a trans-regional IPTV broadcast and control platform, will now only be able to act as a Shanghai sub-platform.
Source: Legal Daily (13/09/12)