In a statement that is said to represent the local entertainment and media industry, Astro and several industry representatives have expressed their displeasure with the penalty that is being imposed against those that committed digital piracy in Malaysia.
Alongside the satellite pay-TV operator and content producer, other organisations that have supported the statement include Star Media Group, Artistes Association of Malaysia (SENIMAN), and the Malaysian Film Producers Association (PFM). In general, they have collectively claimed that the current penalty isn’t proportionate to the huge economic losses suffered by content providers.
The statement said that the annual loss due to digital piracy is estimated to be at RM3 billion to the entertainment and media industry, including RM500 million in lost taxes. Zahrin Aris, Honorary Secretary of Persatuan Penerbit Filem (PFM), said that the penalty for using media boxes with “unauthorised” apps is too light, saying that the value of the content being pirated is “definitely higher” than the current RM30,000 fine.
Even Yusof Haslam, the famed producer and director have chipped in his support and stated that digital piracy will not be curbed without resolve from the authorities. “I regret to see empty rhetoric without a real solution to the problem. Without stricter regulations, piracy will continue to be a cancer to the creative industry and its talents,” he said.
Despite the complaint though, the statement also acknowledged some of the recent enforcement actions taken by the authorities. Among them is the charge on a Shah Alam-based IT company for selling equipment for the purpose of piracy as well as the woman who pleaded guilty to possessing six TV media boxes that allow for illegal streaming of Astro’s contents.
Laila Saat, Regulatory Director at Astro, said the company welcomed the recent charges brought against sellers of illicit streaming devices (ISDs). Saat goes on to say that if piracy is being left rampant, it could stop the growth of the entertainment industry since it would not make economic sense for anyone to come out with premium contents.
All of the parties that supported the statement are now urging the government to review anti-piracy regulations. In particular, they want authorities to address what they view as key enablers of digital piracy: ineffective blocking of illegal streaming sites as well as the fact that ISDs are being openly sold on e-commerce platforms.