Pillaged local entertainment and media industry hurting


PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians downloaded some 84 million media files from peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing site BitTorrent last year, says the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

Its minister Gobind Singh Deo said this preference for such services, which often share pirated intellectual property (IP), is a huge blow to the Malaysian entertainment and media industry, and by extension the economy.

He said as of 2016, these illegal activities cost the industry an estimated RM1.05bil in losses and RM157mil in potential taxes, while more than 1,900 people lost their jobs.

“Unless firm action is taken against these perpetrators, these figures are expected to grow on a yearly basis and we are aware that the content creation industry players have been restless for a support system to strengthen their fight against digital piracy,” he said in his speech at the Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit here yesterday.

The minister quoted digital platform security company Irdeto, which recorded Malaysia as having the second largest share of content piracy in South-East Asia amounting to 17% of traffic there, while the number of visits to websites with pirated content doubled those with legitimate content.

Media Partners Asia co-founder Vivek Couto said piracy was a huge proof of concept that there was demand, whether legal or not.

He said though there were efforts to make content available legally and affordable, industry players saw content still pirated.

He highlighted the real impact of digital piracy on Malaysia’s media economy, as the number of jobs across the video market have steadily fallen since 2016, dipping below the 10,000 mark in 2019.

He said total employee remuneration dropped from more than US$300mil (RM1.22bil) in 2016 to US$270mil (RM1.09bil) as of 2019.

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