AUB, Canal+ fight against TV signal piracy
Officials from the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) and French broadcasting giant Canal+ met in Dakar this month ahead of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations to discuss television signal piracy and how it threatens intellectual property rights.
The meeting was aimed at ensuring technical and legal measures were put in place to secure the signals of African channels, whose governments spend huge sums of money to acquire the rights to sporting competitions.
Both parties also spoke out on the issue of broadcasting rights, since TV channels depend on the advertising market during major competitions.
The AUB said that during the African Nations Championship, held in Cameroon in January and February, several of the 32 games delivered were screened illegally.
Grégoire Ndjaka, CEO of the AUB, said: “Our permanent concern is the protection of TV signal. The fight ought to be carried at all levels. Are you allowed to screen the match? If yes, there is no problem. Secure your signal. But if you don’t have a broadcast contract, should you be allowed to operate illegally while others are paying? That’s the problem.”
From a technical point of view, Alexandre Gruner, director of channel relations and partnerships at Canal+, said: “If we have compelling evidence and take note of any illegal activity on the Canal+ bouquet concerning the Africa Cup of Nations or the FWC, be rest assured, we will suspend your signal.”
Sebastien Punturello, managing director of Canal+ Senegal, added: “I spend at least 20-30% of my time fighting signal piracy. For several years, we have actively led the battle thanks to the support of local authorities, our relations, various ministries –culture, communication and justice – as well as [Senegal’s] National Audiovisual Regulatory Council.
“Almost everywhere on the continent, television signal piracy is developing using handcraft techniques, helped by [technology companies] and other rival groups whose audience rates sometimes compete with those of Canal+ whereas they haven’t acquired the right to broadcast in certain territories in sub-Saharan Africa”.