Do more to combat piracy issues, govt urged

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 31 Jan 2019

PETALING JAYA: The authorities have not done enough to combat piracy issues, says the Malaysian Film Producers Association president Datuk Norman Abdul Halim.

“There should be a dedicated unit to look into infringement of copyright. Maybe the government should also make amendments to laws related to copyright,” he said.

“Banning the sale of TV boxes that can access illegal content can be one of the ways to address piracy issues. Stricter enforcement is another measure.”

Concurring to the view that Malaysia should follow Singapore’s proposal to ban the sale of media streaming boxes with services that allow consumers’ access to pirated content, Norman said the products of the creative industry had to be well protected for the industry to grow further.

“For any industry to thrive, the products have to be protected. Investors need to be able to get their good returns. If all content can be accessed for free, this will disrupt the whole ecosystem. Consumers will get bad quality content in return,” he said.

Norman, who is also KRU Group executive president and chief executive officer, said piracy issues would affect how the film industry compensates its talents, which in turn would affect the quality of production.

“People get paid according to their skills. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys,” he said.

He noted that the production cost for Malaysian films had increased to RM6mil to RM10mil per film in recent years, compared to between RM500,000 and RM1.5mil per film about five years ago.

“This is also the reason why we have better quality local films these days. These films have performed well in box offices. These good films have more ‘exportable’ content too,” he said.

“If such content can be easily accessed for free, how can we export it?”

He said the banning of the sale of TV boxes that could access illegal content could be one of the ways to address piracy issues.

Primeworks Studio chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Izham Omar said the government could use the “carrot and stick” approach to address the issue.

This would mean raising public awareness as well as stricter enforcement and imposing penalties on offenders.

“The main problem is that people do not think it is wrong to do so ... They don’t feel any remorse when they access illegal content through these boxes,” he said.

Ahmad Izham said the government should look into the supply and demand side of such media-streaming boxes.

“There will be media boxes. We just have to make sure the content is legitimate,” he said.

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