Guarding a TV signal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 September, 2003, 12:00am

I refer to the column 'I-Cable's private disputes not our problem', by Jake van der Kamp (September 11).

The column has misconstrued our submission to the Bills Committee of the Legislative Council on the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2003. We fully appreciate that an agreement between us and a residential user of our service is a matter for civil action if the latter allows his decoder to be used by a third party for commercial purposes.

What we are saying is that as the proposed legislation is currently drafted, the 'third party' is not liable to any civil or criminal offence as he is using an 'authorised decoder' provided by us, allowing him to 'legitimately' defraud a subscription television service provider.

I-Cable has invested $300 million to upgrade our decoding technology and will continue to invest to protect the integrity of our subscription television service. But it seems technology alone is not adequate to stop 'stealing' in the way that a car can be equipped with the latest anti-theft gadget. If car theft or electricity theft are criminal offences on our statute books, we do not quite see the logic as to why signal theft is not.

We also do not subscribe to the assertion that protection of intellectual property is a problem for i-Cable alone. It is a problem that needs to be addressed by the service provider, the government and the community seriously.

GARMEN CHAN, vice-president of external affairs, i-Cable Communications