Pay TV operator Astro has hailed a landmark ruling by the High Court of Malaysia which sets a legal precedent for copyright infringement. The Court ruled that a local commercial premises have acted illegally by showing pirated broadcasts of sports and entertainment content including Premier League football.
“The Directors of 42 East Pub and Restaurant in KL were showing content in their premises without a legitimate commercial broadcast subscription to Astro”, according to a joint press release by Premier League & Astro.
It added that the declaration from the High Court sets a crucial precedent making it clear that it is illegal for commercial premises to show content from unauthorised sources, whether through pirated foreign channels or Astro broadcasts without the appropriate commercial licence. Astro says future legal actions could lead to significant financial and legal consequences for anyone found to be showing infringing content on their commercial premises.
Premier League General Counsel Kevin Plumb said, “We welcome this decision from the High Court of Malaya, which makes it very clear that anyone showing pirated content in a commercial premises is breaking the law. The Premier League works closely with Astro and Malaysian law authorities, to take action against piracy and help educate fans – we want to ensure they can come together to watch and enjoy Premier League content in the best quality via legitimate sources.”
Commenting on the ruling, Astro Group CEO-Designate Euan Smith said “We welcome this landmark ruling which has set a legal precedent for copyright infringement. Piracy deeply hurts our ability to keep serving sports fans and commercial enterprises. It damages the income of the entire content creation industry, reduces the amount of tax being received by the Government to support the Malaysian economy, and puts F&B owners at risk of serious financial penalties. We are committed to working closely with the authorities, industry players and the Premier League in battling piracy and in encouraging commercial enterprises to only watch live sports on legal and high-quality platforms.”
As announced early this year, Astro is the only legal platform to watch EPL content in Malaysia until 2025. Under the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022 which now recognises streaming technology as an avenue to infringe copyright, violators could face hefty fines of up to RM200,000 or imprisonment of up to 20 years, or both.
In October this year, the Premier League and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment jointly undertook enforcement action against a retailer allegedly selling illegal streaming devices providing unauthorised access to sports and entertainment content, including Premier League matches. Astro said the retailer was raided and shut down by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs with an arrest made.
Astro has recently introduced its Bizfibre offering which allows businesses to get Astro commercial TV pack and fibre broadband from RM1,412 per month. Businesses can also subscribe AstroBiz commercial TV pack standalone from RM1,159/month.
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