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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » NINETEEN INTERNATIONAL CABLE CHANNELS, INCLUDING SHOWTIME AND ENCORE, TO BE PULLED FROM JAMAICA!

NINETEEN INTERNATIONAL CABLE CHANNELS, INCLUDING SHOWTIME AND ENCORE, TO BE PULLED FROM JAMAICA!

By Richard Johnson—
 Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission Professor Hopeton Dunn (left) and Executive Director of the Commission Cordel Green address members of the media on copyright compliance directive to cable television operators in Jamaica.—

COME May 31, 19 cable channels are to be removed from the roster offerings.

This follows a directive issued by the Broadcasting Commission, as cable providers do not possess the requisite agreement to air these channels.

The channels to be removed from local service are primarily movie providers from the Encore, Showtime and Starz suites.

Professor Hopeton Dunn, chairman of local regulator Broadcasting Commission, said the decision to issue this directive has come following intensive rounds of meetings with operators and their umbrella group, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and others, with a view to arriving at a fully regulated system and the elimination of unlicensed channels from cable in Jamaica.

“Cable operators have been directed to remove these channels and provide subscribers with notice of the discontinuation and an explanation of the reasons for doing so. Cable operators must also make whatever arrangements become necessary based on the terms of contracts with subscribers including refunds and channel substitution where applicable,” said Dunn at a news conference at the the Commission’s New Kingston offices yesterday.

The chairman said the Commission did not want to seem heavy-handed in its decision, explaining that the breaches by local operators “has been elevated to a contentious trade issue, threatening the reputation of Jamaica”.

“We are protecting Jamaica. We don’t want to be seen as a rogue agency, but this is simply not the way forward. What we are about is copyright compliance not just for the international content providers. Jamaican content providers of music and film have a legitimate expectation that their rights will be protected. The question of piracy works in every direction,” said Dunn.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Commission Cordel Green called for a new model in the negotiation process between international channels and local cable operators.

“Agreements for most of these channels do not include Jamaica. The fact that Jamaica lies in the satellite footprint of the United States gives rise to illegal activity and undermines efforts to enforce copyright compliance… there is need for a new model,” said Green.

EncoreLogo

The channels involved in the first phase of the clampdown are: Encore Black; Encore Family; Encore Love; Encore Suspense; Encore WAM; Encore Classic; Encore Drama; Encore Mystery; Encore Movie Plex; The Movie Channel Xtra

Showtime East; Showtime West; Showtime TOO; Showtime 2; Showtime Showcase; Starz Comedy; Starz West; Starz Kids & Family; and Starz Multiplex.

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