Sunday, April 14, 2024

ASTRO Sues Two Companies Over Content Theft

In another chapter of its crackdown on content theft, Malaysian subscription TV operator Astro has brought further civil claims in the Kuala Lumpur High Court against a food and beverage outlet in Kuala Lumpur and a Cameron Highlands-based boutique hotel after gathering evidence that these outlets were streaming and showing pirated Astro copyrighted content to customers and the public in their premises without Astro’s consent or licence.

The screening and showing of Astro copyrighted content to the public in business premises without Astro’s consent or licence is an act of copyright infringement pursuant to Section 36 of the Copyright Act 1987.

Astro recorded the Consent Orders at the Kuala Lumpur High Court with the operators of the F&B outlet in KL and the boutique hotel in Cameron Highlands on 17 January 2024 and on 19 January 2024 respectively. Both enterprises agreed to pay Astro a total of RM55,000 (USD$11,476) in damages, published a public apology in the media and provided an undertaking to cease and desist from infringing Astro’s copyright in any manner whatsoever. Both outlets have also agreed to an Astro commercial subscription worth RM53,000 (USD$11,058) in total.

Astro’s civil claims against these outlets were based on the precedent set by the High Court’s landmark ruling that it secured with the Premier League in November 2022, which made it clear that it is illegal for commercial premises to show content to the public from unauthorised sources, including Astro broadcasts without the appropriate commercial licence.

Meanwhile, on 16 February 2024, the Ampang Session Court charged and fined salesperson, Teh Wei Seng, 26 for selling TV boxes pre-loaded with unauthorised Astro content under Section 43 AA (1)( c) of the Copyright Act 1987. He pleaded guilty and was fined RM 12,000 (USD$2503) or, on default, imprisonment to 6 months. The offence was committed on 30 March 2023 at an outlet in Ampang, Selangor where Teh was found in possession of 3 Android TV boxes of which two were preloaded with unauthorised Astro content.

Tai Kam Leong, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Astro said, “We welcome these positive outcomes from our legal and federal enforcement actions against commercial establishments and individuals that have been illegally streaming and showing unauthorised content to their customers. Astro is sending out a strong message that tough measures will be taken against anyone who is found guilty of piracy. Piracy deeply hurts our ability to keep serving fans of our content and erodes our ability to make further investment in premium content for Malaysians.”


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