BY SAM ALFAN.
HIGH court has restrained three digital television companies from airing World Cup tournament in Brazil after Kenya Broadcasting Corporation sued them for broadcasting without authorization.
In an application filed under certificate of urgency in court on Friday, Kenya Broadcasting Eric Ogolla barred Wananchi Group Limited, Pan African Network Group Limited and Star Times Media Kenya Ltd from interfering with KBC’s copy right to air the event.
According to KBC, the the three pay TV companies have no license or authority to broadcast the World Cup tournament.
The country’s broadcaster argued that it has signed a license agreement jointly with FIFA and Africa Union of Broadcasting (AUB) that granted it exclusive media rights to broadcast the competition in Kenya through television and radio.
Corporation (KBC), which has exclusive rights to broadcast the World Cup in the country, moved to court seeking to block the respondents from infringing their copy right by way of advertising, broadcasting, airing or promoting the 2014 world cup.
Judge Under the said agreement, KBC was granted exclusive broadcast rights in Free to Air platform (FTA) which need not pay subscription fees to access the contest.
However, the respondents have through adverts and public announcements expressed their intention to broadcast the tournament live through their television stations.
The Pay TV stations are accused of broadcasting the commencement of tournament and related events on June 12 2014 when the much awaited soccer event kicked off.
Justice Ogolla heard that KBC has written to the respondents warning them against broadcasting the 64 matches using the applicants’ television station as this would breach the conditions of the license agreement with FIFA.
“The respondents have gone ahead and broadcasted the matches on their platform through the applicants television signal. The move is an infringement of the applicants copyright and will lead to the breach of the obligations in the license from FIFA, ’’ Ogeto argued.
Further KBC contends that the respondents are undermining its position in the market as an exclusive licensee to enjoy the commercial gains through advertisements and other benefits.
The court was told that if the respondents are not stopped, KBC would be exposed to legal suits from FIFA for allowing unauthorized persons to exploit the radio rights without its approval or license from FIFA.
The matter is set for interparty hearing on June 16.