Watch It logo – Facebook page
CAIRO – 27 May 2019: Lawyer Anwar al-Rifai said that the Egyptian TV authority has the right to provide the licenses required for other platforms to make use of the national TV's content, slamming some complaints against Egypt’s new video streaming app Watch iT.
Watch iT blocks Internet users' chances to upload episodes of the Ramadan series on YouTube, as the newly-launched app offers these series for a monthly fee.
This comes as the National Media Authority, responsible for the management of Egyptian Radio and Television Union (aka as Maspero), announced signing a cooperation protocol, allowing Watch iT, which is owned by the Egyptian Media Group, to commercialize the archives of the Egyptian TV.
The protocol was signed with the United Company for Media Services, owner of the Egyptian Media Group. According to the protocol, Watch iT will get exclusive broadcasting rights to the Egyptian TV archive.
According to a Friday statement, the protocol also allows the newly launched digital media content platform to offer this content and reproduce it in accordance with the modern methods of displaying all media content.
Egyptian lyricist Ayman Bahgat Kamar, son of late Egyptian author Bahagat Kamar, warned of passing this agreement, saying on his Facebook page: "A warning to those concerned, I and all the sons of the old and creative authors, have not given up the digital [content] rights that belong to our fathers."
He affirmed that in case any application or website decides to commercialize these rights, "all legal measures will be taken."
Article 142 of t Law No. 82 of 2002 stipulates that national folklore shall be considered as a property for the public and that the relevant ministry shall address the literary and financial rights of the author, lawyer Rifai said. Also, Article 158 of the same law stipulates that the broadcasting organizations shall enjoy the financial advisory rights including granting licenses required for a platform to exploit its content.
By applying these articles, we find that the national broadcasting authority, represented in the Egyptian TV authority, has the right to use the audiovisual content considered as part of the national folklore and the public domain without asking for the authors or their successors' permission as long as the broadcasters refer to the authors.
It is noteworthy that the Egyptian Media Group, which owns Watch iT, is the co-owner of On TV, Al Hayat, DMC and CBC channels that provide various media services.
Watch iT offers a seven-day free trial for the Egyptian exclusive series it presents, while subscribers will have to pay a monthly fee of LE 99 ($5.9) following the trial.