High Court rules sales of TV boxes infringe on copyright

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief regulatory officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin said MCMC welcomed the court’s decision.

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur Intellectual Property High Court has declared that the sale, offer for sale, distribution and supply of TV boxes or illicit streaming devices (ISDs) that can provide unauthorised access to copyrighted works, constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act 1987.

The action was brought by Measat Broadcast Networks Sdn Bhd, the service provider for Astro, against a seller of ISDs preloaded with applications which act as gateways to websites or content servers streaming pirated content.

The historic judgment on Monday, considered to be the first by the court, was positively received by the authorities and industry players in their battle against digital piracy.

Industry leaders including Astro lauded the High Court’s judgement as a bold step in the right direction against piracy in Malaysia.

Astro regulatory director Laila Saat said this set a precedent for future civil claims on copyright infringement against ISD sellers in the market, including those on e-commerce platforms.

“This ground-breaking declaration will strengthen intellectual property protection in the country and ongoing anti-piracy efforts, which are pivotal to ensure continuous investment and job creation in Malaysia’s media and entertainment industry.

“We will continue to work with authorities and content partners to send a strong message that content piracy is theft, illegal and punishable by law, ” she said in a statement.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief regulatory officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin said MCMC welcomed the court’s decision.

“This will strengthen the legal aspects in protecting copyright infringement and battle against piracy, especially in digital and networked forms, ” he said.

The estimated loss to the industry and Malaysian economy due to piracy is over RM3bil annually with RM500mil in taxes and thousands of jobs at risk.

The declaration by the High Court follows recent criminal cases successfully brought against ISD retailers.

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