Illicit internet protocol television (IPTV) boxes (Figure 1) are small home electronic devices that can be used to illegally download and stream media content including Hollywood blockbusters, TV series and live sports. Measat Satellite Systems, the biggest cable TV service provider in Malaysia, has scored a hat-trick of wins relating to IPTV devices at the IP High Court so far in 2021. It has won cases against a national electrical goods retailer and an individual retailer and it has also been granted a general declaration that sales of such illicit streaming devices (ISDs) amount to copyright infringement.

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Figure 1: IPTV box

On 8 February 2021 a director of All IT Hypermarket, a national electronics good store, pleaded guilty to a charge under section 41(h) of the Copyright Act 1987 for causing the circumvention of technological measures put in place by content providers to restrict access. All IT Hypermart was selling small ISD boxes in both their physical and online stores. A trap purchase on 2 September 2020 at the Shah Alam outlet secured the win for Measat.

On 16 February 2021 an individual electronics good retailer, Lee, pleaded guilty to charges under section 232(2) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which prohibits the possession of a system designed to fraudulently obtain network content. Lee had six ISDs for sale and was fined RM5000 per unit. This was the first time that anyone had been sentenced under this law.

On 24 May 2021 Measat obtained a general declaration from the IP High Court that sales of ISDs amounted to infringement of the Copyright Act. A spokesperson stated as follows:

The declaration by the High Court that sale of ISDs . . . amounts to copyright infringement sets a precedent for future civil claims . . . against ISD sellers in the market, including those on e-commerce platforms.

The hat-trick of wins for Measat demonstrate a clamp down on the sale of illegal IPTV devices in Malaysia, in line with international legal trends.

For further information on this topic please contact Ian Mirandah at Mirandah Asia by telephone (+60 322 788 686) or email ([email protected]). The Mirandah Asia website can be accessed at www.mirandah.com.