Buying pirated TV boxes instead of subscribing to Astro for your favourite entertainment shows may seem harmless enough, but you encourage illegal activities and piracy. Individuals who have tried to rise above the law have found themselves facing the music.

The Petaling Jaya Sessions Court recently charged an individual for selling a TV box pre-loaded with unauthorised Astro content under Section 43AA (1)(c) of the Copyright Act 1987. The individual pleaded guilty to the charges and paid a fine of RM10,000. During a raid on 20 July 2023 at a mall in Petaling Jaya, nine TV Boxes were found, including one preloaded with unauthorised content.

Some may not be aware that The Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022 was gazetted on 10 February 2022, so take note, folks. 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 illicit streaming devices (ISDs) and associated software applications that allow unauthorised access to copyright content. Anyone found guilty can be fined up to RM200,000, be imprisoned up to 20 years, or both. A quarter of your life gone because of illegal TV boxes doesn’t sound worth it to us.

The amendments to the Copyright Act followed the declaration by the Intellectual Property High Court in Kuala Lumpur in May 2021 that the sale, offer for sale, distribution and/or supply of ISDs that can provide unauthorised access to copyrighted works, constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act 1987.

Is this the first time an individual has been punished for this act?

Far from it. In fact, earlier this year, 6 individuals were charged and fined for the same offence under the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022:

• 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. So, you don’t have to be a seller to be fined *gasp*.

• On 5 April 2023, two individuals were charged at the Kuala Lumpur Session Court (Cyber) for selling TV boxes with unauthorised Astro content.

• On 13 April 2023, two individuals were fined RM14,000 in total by the Kluang Magistrate's Court for selling TV boxes pre-loaded with unauthorised Astro content.

• On 16 June 2023, one individual was fined RM20,000 by The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for selling TV boxes with unauthorised Astro content.

Who to call if you encounter such activity?

The public is reminded to channel information on piracy activities to KPDNHEP through the hotline at 1-800-886-800 or 03-8882 6088 at the Enforcement Command Centre, WhatsApp at 019-279 4317, email to [email protected] or via Ez ADU app.

Watch your shows the legal way by subscribing to Astro here.