Communications Ministry isn?t sure satellite dish owners will see soccer finals
quinta-feira, 16 de maio de 2002 , 18h06 | POR REDAÇÃO

The Communications Ministry could guarantee that more than 7 million owners of C-band satellite dishes will be able to watch Brazil play in the World Cup soccer finals if it issued an ordinance obliging Globo to keep the signal free to air. But officials aren?t sure they can find a legal way to do so. Globo?s contract with FIFA forbids free-to-air transmission via satellite, apparently to prevent piracy. Executives of Globo met Tuesday, May 15, with ministry officials to explain details of the contract. The officials were wary of issuing an ordinance solely to protect the rights of satellite dish owners, but said they were still seeking a solution. If the ministry does issue an ordinance, Globo will have to decide whether to comply or litigate. The latter option would please FIFA but anger more than 7 million consumers. Considering Globo has agreed to pay 220 million US dollars for the rights (far more than it paid in 1998), punters reckon FIFA wouldn?t be left out on a limb if it allowed a free-to-air satellite relay. The difficulty the ministry faces is how to justify such an action legally and politically, given the direct link to the business operations of a private-sector company. The media have focused on the matter, and the Government is under pressure. The ideal solution would be to propose legislation, but there?s very little time for Congress to debate a bill before the World Cup begins.


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