TV networks aim to sink pirates
ABU DHABI // They picked a great day for it. As the internet buckled under the strain of the most pirated show in TV history, Tuesday was World Intellectual Property Day.
The season 6 opener of Game of Thrones was broadcast worldwide, including locally by OSN, at 5am on Monday – and there were an estimated one million downloads in the first 12 hours alone. The fifth season opener last year was downloaded 13 million times, according to the piracy news website TorrentFreak.
Nevertheless, broadcasters such as OSN say they are fighting back. “Across the region, we see tremendous support from the concerned authorities to curb TV piracy, given the huge loss in revenue to the state exchequers and the negative impact on the creative industry,” the network’s chief executive David Butorac said on Tuesday.
“World Intellectual Property Day underlines the importance of upholding rights that sustain the growth of the entertainment sector.”
OSN says the recent conviction in a Dubai court of an illegal internet TV provider was a first for the region and an unprecedented victory. The network also joined authorities in the GCC, Egypt and Jordan to conduct 316 anti-piracy raids that resulted in unauthorised operators being fined, shops closed and equipment confiscated.
More than 86,000 illegal videos were removed from YouTube and Dailymotion, and more than 2,200 advertisements for pirated boxes were taken down from online market sites.
A total of 829 “free to air” channel copyright infringements were detected and reported back to the satellite operators and distributors, OSN said.
Mr Butorac said OSN conducted workshops for authorities in identifying and curbing TV piracy, and urged members of the public to report it “to safeguard and drive the growth of the region’s creative sector”.
In the first three months of this year, Dubai Customs made 54 seizures of property rights infringing goods with a value of Dh34.5 million – more than double last year’s total of Dh16.8m.
“A report estimated that the growing impact of digital piracy could add up to Dh1,150 trillion in lost revenue globally, while in the Mena region losses in revenue due to digital piracy amount to over Dh4 billion every year,” said executive director Abdullah Al Khaja.
This year’s theme for World Intellectual Property Day was Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined. “As we celebrate digital creativity across the world, we should also think about how to find the right balance,” said Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
“One that recognises the importance of creators and innovators to all the progress that we see, culturally and technologically, as a consequence of digital technology, while at the same time ensuring the social benefit of widespread access to their works.”
Updated: April 26, 2016 04:00 AM