The new owners of cable company WestStar have signed an agreement with television network HBO Latin America to broadcast its package of channels bringing to an end a lengthy copyright dispute.
HBO had accused the Cayman Islands television company of intercepting U.S. satellite transmissions and “unethically” broadcasting its channels to subscribers.
The network filed a complaint with the Cayman Islands Information and Communication Technology Authority last June but was told it would need to bring legal action for breach of copyright if it felt WestStar was illegally broadcasting its content.
At the time, WestStar executives said the HBO package that Latin America offers to broadcasters in the region, featuring some Spanish language content and tailored toward a Central and South American audience, was not satisfactory for Cayman Islands customers.
They did not deny broadcasting HBO and Cinemax without a license, but said the issue of programming in the region is “complex” and insisted they were working on an agreement with HBO USA to screen the same content available in the U.S. and Bermuda. No agreement was ever announced and up to now the HBO USA package has not been made available to broadcasters in the Caribbean.
In a statement Tuesday, HBO confirmed that the dispute had been resolved following the takeover of WestStar by Logic, which has an existing copyright agreement with HBO Latin America.
The move will mean a change to the channels offered to subscribers in their cable packages, though Logic insists much of the same content will be available.
“HBO is very pleased to have reached a mutual agreement that will bring our programming to all WestStar subscribers in the Cayman Islands,” said Javier Figueras, of HBO Latin America.
“We appreciate that the new leadership took charge to ensure proper delivery of the best content, in the highest technology, and we look forward to having a long-standing, successful partnership.”
Logic did not respond to requests for comment by press time. But in an announcement on its television channel Cayman 27, a spokesperson said there would be changes to the channel lineup to comply with licensing agreements.
She said some channels would be added and others would be lost.
“We apologize for some of those that we are not having any longer, but we do have to abide by our agreements; we would rather do that than get in any trouble.”
In a statement released last year, HBO Latin America accused WestStar of unethical conduct:
“HBO Latin America has repeatedly requested WestStar TV to cease its interception and rebroadcast of HBO and Cinemax programming. WestStar TV has not denied these unethical activities, but has continued to engage in these practices…”