The fight against content theft in the Asia Pacific has gained strength in numbers, following the formation of an industry-wide Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) by pay-TV trade body CASBAA.
Production veteran Neil Gane will direct CAP enforcement actions against content pirates, acting as general manager and drawing on the resources of member organisations beIN Sports, CASBAA, The Walt Disney Company, Fox Networks Group, HBO Asia, NBCUniversal, Premier League, Turner Asia-Pacific, A&E Networks, Astro, BBC Worldwide, Media Partners Asia, National Basketball Association, PCCW Media, Sony Pictures Television Networks Asia, True Visions, TV5MONDE and Viacom International Media Networks.
Formerly with the Hong Kong Police, Gane has worked on content protection issues for over a decade. He says a surge in the sale of TV boxes with pre-loaded infringing applications is undermining the growth in the distribution of legal creative content. “The Asia Pacific region has some of the worst rates of online piracy in the world”, he said.
Analysts are forecasting growth of more than 20% over the next five years for the online video market, but this growth potential is threatened by content piracy, said CASBAA.
John Medeiros (pictured), chief policy officer at CASBAA said: “CAP will focus on addressing the growing threat of illicit streaming devices (ISDs) and apps, which facilitate massive piracy of movies, sports, TV series and other creative video content. This does great harm to the content creation and distribution industries in Asia, as well as the millions of people who work in the creative economy around the world.”
Gane added: “The prevalence of ISDs across Asia is staggering. The criminals who operate the ISD networks and the pirate websites are profiting from the hard work of talented creators, seriously damaging the legitimate content ecosystem as well as exposing consumers to dangerous malware”.
Medeiros added: “Current legal frameworks are not adequate to handle this newly-enabled crime. Consumers are offered huge content bundles from overseas, as if they were legal. But receiving stolen content is wrong, and the fundamental purpose of an ISD network – with an innocent-looking box as its home node – is to monetise this redistribution of content without any recompense to those who worked to produce it.”
CAP intends to join hands with similar initiatives under way in other parts of the world, including with the newly-formed Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) and in Europe.
The initiative will be formerly launched at November’s CASBAA Convention 2017 at Studio City Macau.