The owner of a Malaysian electronics outlet, Tay Wee Hwa, and his son Tay Eng Guan, have been fined RM14,000 (USD$3100) in total by the Kluang Magistrate’s Court for selling TV boxes pre-loaded with unauthorised Astro content under Section 41(1)(ha) of the Copyright Act 1987.
The individuals were charged with illegally distributing and sharing copyrighted content. The charges came after an extensive investigation by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM)’s team from Cyber Crime Investigation Unit, Commercial Crime Investigation Department, who raided the electronics outlet located at Jalan Dato Sulaiman Mohd Noor, Kluang Baru on 7 December 2021. Five android boxes pre-loaded with unauthorised Astro content were confiscated whilst Tay Wee Hwa and Tay Eng Guan were charged under Section 41(1)(ha) of the Copyright Act 1987 for selling any technology or device for the purpose of bypassing any effective technological measures stated under subsection 36A(3) of the same Act. The two individuals pleaded guilty to their charges and were fined RM14,000 in total.
An Astro spokesperson said, “We take piracy very seriously and are committed to working with the authorities to protect our rights as content owner. The illegal sharing and distribution of copyrighted content not only harms copyright owners but also affects the livelihoods of those working in the entertainment industry. We will continue to work tirelessly to combat piracy and ensure that justice is served.”
In April 2023 alone, 5 individuals were charged for piracy-related offenses:
- On 3 April 2023, a 22-year-old student was fined by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court for having in his possession an unauthorised link to a popular local TV drama series on his devices.
- On 5 April 2023, two individuals were charged under Section 43AA of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022 for selling TV boxes with unauthorised content, which marked the first case since the amendment took effect in March 2022.
The Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022 introduced amendments to the Copyright Act 1987 to strengthen provisions relating to the enforcement of copyright. It was gazetted on 10 February 2022, and the enforcement of the law was implemented by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) on 18 March 2022. The key impact of the amendment is the criminalisation of the sale of ISDs and associated software applications that allow unauthorised access to copyright content. Anyone found guilty can be fined up to RM200,000, imprisoned for up to 20 years, or both.