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US copyright holders reluctant to enter agreements with local cable operators

Published:Thursday | May 7, 2015 | 8:51 AM

It has been proposed that a meeting be held between Jamaican and other regional cable operators and United States rights holders to resolve intellectual property breaches.

Recently, the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) gave local cable operators until May 31 to stop showing 19 channels for which they do not have a licence.

Yesterday, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) moved to dismiss reports the action was prompted by discussions during the recent visit of the US president and an escalation in a trade issue internationally.


Debbie-Ann Wright has more in this report

The OPM says over the years, Jamaican and other cable distributors have sought negotiated licences to show channels originating in the USA.

But it says only two rights holders in recent times have taken steps to license their programming in Jamaica.

It says the majority of rights holders have been reluctant to negotiate such authorizations.

The Government says it is working toward a resolution through continued dialogue with the United States Trade Representative and other interested stakeholders in the US, as well as through regional efforts under CARICOM. 

It says these efforts have led to a proposal for a meeting to be held as soon as possible between US rights holders and regional cable operators.

The OPM points out that local cable operators have been working with the Broadcasting Commission to move towards compliance.

It says Jamaica remains open to rights holders to discuss Intellectual Property related concerns of mutual interest and the US has acknowledged the effort being made by Jamaica.

Meanwhile, the OPM has clarified that there were no discussions on the matter of copyright breaches by cable operators during the visit of the US president nor was the matter raised at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.