Wednesday 27 May 2009
Content Industry v SABC
South of the equator almost an entire content industry is taking on a national television channel by staging a mass protest on 4 June 2009 over alleged unpaid fees and unfair business practices and terms, some relating to IP ownership. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) finds itself portrayed as a dysfunctional non paying bully by the Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) a coalition of content providers who have banded together to address a problem they say threatens their very existence. Depending on which news source you read (egs here, here and here) the total amount allegedly unpaid ranges from $5 million to $7 million. The TVIEC and SABC have asked the government to intervene. Afro-IP's comments on the IP aspects of the TVIEC's open letter to government may be found here. Since then news of the mass protest has surfaced. It seems that government has little choice but to intervene because a defunct SABC (SA's equivalent of the BBC) has significant implications for the South African public. One hopes that a bail out does not come at the expense of an independence the SABC has done well to achieve to date.