A recent finding of the Supreme Court of Seychelles in the case of MultiChoice Africa Holdings B.V and SuperSport International (Pty) Ltd v Intelvision Limited shows courts in Africa are willing to protect the rights of African content producers and rights holders.
The court found that Intelvision was breaking the law when it broadcast matches from the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament for which it did not have broadcast rights. This is the first successful application of Seychelles’ Copyright Act.
This decision sets a strong national and regional precedent in upholding content-sharing agreements to ensure that the rights of content providers are protected at every level of the supply chain.
The goal is to ensure that creators are remunerated fairly and the content ecosystem – on which much of modern media is built – remains sustainable.
The court ordered that a commissioner be appointed to investigate Intelvision’s accounts to assess the benefit derived by Intelvision from the illegal broadcast of the AFCON tournament.
Once the investigation is complete, the court will determine the amount to be paid by Intelvision to MultiChoice Africa and SuperSport as damages suffered by these parties.
Content piracy takes many forms, often simply amounting to intentional content theft. The respondent, Intelvision, was found to be in breach of copyright for its blatant disregard of the rights held by the content producers and rights owners.
While the Seychelles ruling is to be applauded, the fight against piracy is global and Africa is meeting the challenge head-on.
Civil-society organisations and government agencies across the continent are actively working to protect content-creator and owner rights by developing policy, passing laws and enforcing them.
There is also a willingness among content stakeholders to assert their own rights, as the MultiChoice and SuperSport victory in Seychelles demonstrates. Increasingly, Africa is building a united front against piracy and fighting for copyright-protection enforcement.