Middle East anti-piracy TV group to remove channels

The MENA Broadcast Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition, at a meeting in Dubai last week, said it would remove offending pirate channels this week, by May 4th. These channels are frequent offenders, both in the piracy of ‘live’ content including sports content and the screening of unlicensed movies and programmes.

MBC CEO, Sam Barnett, quoted by trade magazine BroadcastPro Middle East, said: “The coalition has been successful in highlighting where and how piracy happens, and the joint action to remove pirates from the region’s satellites is a great step. Noorsat’s commitment to take down the remaining pirate channels within days is clearly welcome.”

The coalition’s website lists dozens of infringing channels (transmitting in Arabic and English) as at March 2017. Monitoring is carried out by staff at Jordan media City, Dubai-based OSN and MBC.

Barnett’s reference to Noorsat is key insofar that many channels carried by Noorsat (itself which leases capacity from Eutelsat and Arabsat) are frequently cited as being transgressors. Noorsat CEO Omar Shoter has responded in the past saying that Noorsat would speedily act and take down offending channels provided the legal rights to any disputed content was clearly established.

Noorsat itself made a public commitment at the Dubai meeting that it would comply by 4th May provided that the other operators agreed to maintain their current position.

Sophie Moloney, OSN Chief Legal Officer, showcased research showing IPTV piracy is growing at an alarming rate and fast becoming ‘normalised behaviour’ within the family home. “Our industry faces a number of threats from illegal satellite distributors as well as from the emerging scourge of internet content piracy. The worrying thing is that illegal IPTV providers are openly selling their hardware and services through social media in the Middle East,” added Moloney.

The members have agreed to look at how they can widen their membership to reflect the different threats that content producers and distributors now face in the region.

In a joint communique, the coalition members also agreed to collaborate on lobbying regional authorities, police, customs, legal and licencing bodies and to run joint education and awareness campaigns aimed at informing government entities and customers across the MENA.

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