Mon | Jun 17, 2019

TVJ wins copyright case - Cable firm ordered to pay for Diamond League breaches

Published:Thursday | July 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Local cable company Linscom Network has been ordered to pay Television Jamaica Limited (TVJ) US$14,857.50 for breaches of copyright over its showing of two IAAF Diamond League events in 2014.

In a judgement handed down last week, Puisne Judge David Batts further ruled that interest at a rate of 1.5 per cent should be paid on the damages effective from March 5, 2015, to the date of payment.

TVJ, a member of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, had taken the matter to the courts after Linscom broadcast two of 14 Diamond League meets for which TVJ held exclusive rights in Jamaica.

According to lawyers representing TVJ, it was seeking a declaration and damages for breach of its copyright.

But lawyers representing Linscom denied TVJ's entitlement to exclusivity, alleging that the meets became available by way of satellite footprint or 'overspill' and denied knowingly infringing the copyright.


No right to broadcast


In his ruling, Batts rejected the arguments of Linscom as he underscored that the right to broadcast a network, in this case United States-based NBC, did not necessarily include a right to the programmes of the network's feed.

"There is, however, no evidence that the defendant had permission to broadcast the programme in issue, i.e., the live IAAF Diamond League," said Batts.

He also rejected the argument that the cable operator did not know that TVJ was the owner of the copyright to the events.

"If someone knows, or has reason to believe that copyright may exist in a work, the onus is on that person to seek out the owner and obtain permission before broadcast," said Batts.

In a seeming warning to other cable providers, Batts said: "If one is receiving a continuous feed, it may be prudent either to ensure that the source of that feed, has permission to broadcast/ transmit programmes contained in that feed to Jamaica, or to obtain appropriate indemnities and/or guarantees in that regard."