LBS Gets World Cup Rights…Video Clubs, Others Warned

The Acting Director General of the Liberian Broadcasting System (LBS), Mr. Legerhood Rennie, has disclosed that the LBS has acquired the media right agreement for the Liberian National Television (LNTV) to exclusively air the FIFA World Cup 2014.

Mr. Rennie said in response to the desire of the Liberian people for higher satisfaction in television service, that the management of LBS, on behalf of the LNTV, has negotiated and purchased the Public Viewing Television Rights for the FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2014 from the F1FA through the African Union of Broadcasters (the parent union of all State Owned Broadcast Networks in Africa).

He noted that there are two categories of TV Rights for the 2014 World Cup with the first being the private TV viewing Rights, which as of today is owned by Super Sports in Liberia.  Mr. Rennie noted that this right provides the broadcast of the tournament by Super Sports to private homes, hotels and restaurants only.

“The second category is the TV Public Viewing Rights (which is purchased by the LNTV in Liberia). This right provides for the broadcast of the tournament by the LNTV to FREE-TO-AIR television; public spaces (such as open stadium and parks) and public viewing centers such as Cinemas and Video clubs,” the LBS Executive said.

He said these Media Rights to the FIFA events, which include the WORLD CUP, are not obtained free of charge and as a matter of fact, the LBS will encourage all of its media colleagues to visit the FIFA official website to read FIFA’s position on the usage of its logos, the broadcast of these games and other franchises of FIFA associated with the World Cup without permission.

“These intellectual properties are highly protected by International Copy Rights Laws and therefore it is our duty and obligation as a FIFA Media Rights holder to protect these franchises, ” Mr. Rennie told a News conference yesterday at the Ministry of Information.

He further said the management of the Liberia Broadcasting System is encouraging all Video Clubs and Cinema Operators as well as all Free to Air television networks in Liberia desirous of broadcasting this year’s FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, to please engage the management of LBS for possible sharing of this right as it is ONLY the LIBERIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM that can authorize any video club, cinema or television station in Liberia to broadcast the games.

He said the LBS management re-emphasizes that it will be a violation of the Anti- Piracy Laws, the International Copy Rights Laws and a violation of the Intellectual Property Rights of FIFA and its partners for any of the named institutions in Liberia to broadcast theses World Cup games without the permission of the LBS.

“Hence, as a commitment to FIFA to protect their Intellectual Property, the Management of LBS will take full legal action against any Video Club or Cinema Operator or any television station in violation of these rights,” the acting LBS Boss intimated.

He said the LBS is working with the Motion Picture Division of MICAT and the Ministry of Justice to set-up a special monitoring task force to ensure that violators be brought to book.

The management said it will also be communicating with the management of DSTV both their local representative (Consolidated Group) and their parent company, Multi Choice Africa on the prohibition of the use of the DSTV signal by any of the Video Clubs or Cinema operators or local television stations to rebroadcast these games as that company will also be in violation of the Intellectual Property law.

“Similar communications will be sent to other possible satellite television service providers in Liberia. However, DSTV was specifically mentioned because we have been informed by FIFA that they are the only other rights holders in Liberia. Any other network will be in violation, ”Mr. Rennie emphasized.