PUTRAJAYA: Singapore's decision to block access to illegal applications on TV boxes has been applauded by video industry players.
In a statement, the Asia Video Industry Association (Avia) said the Singapore High Court's decision on Nov 2 is much welcomed as the illegal streaming of TV content via TV boxes had affected businesses in the industry.
"Avia welcomes the court's decision to block access to such popular illicit streaming device (ISD) applications. We have always maintained that illicit streaming devices are illegal in Singapore.
"The ISD ecosystem is impacting all businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content.
"Configuring TV boxes in this way allows unauthorised access to TV channels and video-on-demand content with the revenue going into the pockets of criminal syndicates and individuals who benefit from the spoils of such a crime," said Avia chief executive officer Louis Boswell.
The Singapore High Court on Nov 2 ordered Internet service providers in the country to block access to illegal apps that are usually pre-loaded on "Android TV boxes" sold.
The apps act as gateways to websites streaming pirated content, which allows consumers to illegally access premium TV channels, live sports channels and movies.
The TV boxes are overtly sold in Singapore retail outlets as well as at e-markets.
Avia's Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) general manager Neil Gane said the court's decision reaffirms Singapore's reputation as a "bastion of intellectual property rights" in the region.
"The content industry will make every effort to prevent and disrupt the illegal feeds of live sports, TV channels and VOD content which are monetised by crime syndicates.
"Consumers who buy ISDs are not only funding crime groups, but also wasting their money when the channels stop working.
"ISDs do not come with a 'service guarantee', no matter what the seller may claim," said Gane.
Gane also said consumers face risks of malware when accessing pirated content using TV boxes.
"The more mainstream the piracy ecosystem becomes, the greater the risks of malware proliferation.
"The appetite for free or paying cheap subscription rates for pirated applications found on ISDs, blinkers some consumers from the real risks of malicious malware infection such as spyware, ransomware and malware mining," said Gane.