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Malaysia Finds Digital Pirates Liable for Copyright Infringement


June 15, 2021

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Malaysia’s Intellectual Property High Court has found that companies that sell illicit streaming devices (ISDs) can be civilly liable for copyright infringement. ISDs are devices that allow users to stream pirated content.


ISDs are a major source of concern in Malaysia, with intellectual property professionals concerned that widespread use of these devices will ultimately create a chilling effect on the creative industry as a whole. This development provides another avenue for media companies in Malaysia to protect against infringement of their copyright.


This judgement comes after a campaign by major players in Malaysia’s media and entertainment industry to crack down on digital piracy, claiming that they were not previously sufficiently protected by the current regulations.


While this judgement and the potential new avenue for legal claims will undoubtedly alleviate some of the media companies’ concerns, to further support the media industry, the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (“FINAS”), has established the Digital Piracy Eradication Committee with the support of law enforcement. FINAS believes that the ultimate solution to digital piracy should include not only civil actions, but increased enforcement of copyright as well.


To that end, Malaysia has laid its first charge of copyright infringement against a company allegedly promoting ISDs. However, it remains to be seen if these strategies will be effective in combatting digital piracy, which accounts for RM 3billion in losses for the media industry every year.

Author: Mark Leonard

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