Malaysia Looks To Prosecute Homeowners Where Accused Streaming Piracy Occurs

from the upstream dept

Back in the early days of filesharing clients and bittorrent being the focus of industry anti-piracy efforts, it was rare but not unheard of for end users to be targeted with lawsuits and criminal prosecution for copyright infringement. With the piracy ecosystem largely moving off of those kinds of filesharing platforms and more into a realm in which end users instead simply stream infringing material over the wire, rather than downloading it directly to their own machines, the focus on the consumer of pirated material has fallen by the wayside. Instead, the focus is now on the infringing sites that offer those streaming materials to the public. This makes a great deal of sense, actually, as the average user plausibly can claim ignorance as to the illicit nature of streamed material, combined with the simple fact that, unlike bittorrent technology, streaming material doesn’t simultaneously offer it up to others as well.

Again, this makes sense.

Well, someone should reach out to the Malaysian government, because its new plans to fight piracy occurring with the aid of in-house Android boxes includes a strategy to prosecute any homeowner where such a device used for infringement exists.

There are many strategies available but the government in Malaysia is currently considering something unheard of anywhere on the planet. While it hasn’t shied away from ordering ISPs to block pirate sites, it now wants to hit consumers of content too, specifically those using Android-style set-top boxes.

The mission of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) is sometimes compared to that of the MPAA in the US. Unlike the MPAA, however, FINAS is a government department within the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia. Its chairman, Datuk Hans Isaac, says that it’s time to hold the public accountable for piracy.

“I’m putting a paper together to propose that the owner of the house is responsible for the use of illegal Android TV boxes,” he said at the Fast Track 2019 Creative Digital Economy Forum in Cyberjaya.

This plan should raise the eyebrows for several reasons. The whole thing looks a bit like the strategy used by copyright trolls, where IP addresses are used to identify infringers, except that IP addresses make for shitty evidence as to who is actually infringing. After all, the account holder of an internet service isn’t the only individual who might use that service. The same goes with homeownership, except more so (more on that in a moment). If IP addresses are bad at determining who actually infringed on a copyright, home-ownership records must represent a step further back from actual evidence.

And the government isn’t even trying to pretend that its plans will make good on catching the party actually infringing copyright.

In the United States, Europe and elsewhere it’s not uncommon for copyright trolls to blame Internet subscribers (often the homeowner) for Internet piracy. However, it seems that FINAS wants to take things a whole lot further by placing the responsibility for piracy on those who may be innocent and/or completely absent.

“It doesn’t matter if the person is renting the house to another person who bought the device,” the FINAS chairman clarified.

This can be paraphrased as: “We’re not actually all that concerned if we catch the infringing party. We mostly just want someone to blame for all of this, so we’ll settle for whoever owns the abode, whether they live there or not.” The potential that this new plan will ensnare innocent parties is nearly 100%. It’s also going to be absolute hell for the real estate rental market. That sound you hear is a thousand Malaysian real estate lawyers scrambling to revise lease agreements for their customers.

Open for discussion is exactly how effective all of this will be anyway.

Norman believes that when tackling the problem, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) should consider restricting Internet access to those who utilize pirate services.

Again, it remains unclear how the government could determine who these people are. The main problem cited isn’t easily-trackable BitTorrent users but those who frequent streaming sites, portals, and other services.

Which is why the strategy has always been to go after and/or block the sites themselves, rather than the end user streaming the content. What silver bullet the Malaysian government has crafted to be able to track this sort of thing remains unknown at this point.

But what isn’t unknown is just how antithetical to justice this plan is.

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Comments on “Malaysia Looks To Prosecute Homeowners Where Accused Streaming Piracy Occurs”

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23 Comments
Don't Sauce Too Soon - grilling tip says:

"plausibly can claim ignorance" -- Not any more!

First, you just flatly admitted that streaming makes for easier lying about theft.

Now, with modern equipment, which anyone in "IT" would know, it’s EASY to monitor traffic to the few also easily KNOWN streaming sites. Need only sift through logs and see which local addresses connect for a couple gigabytes a night.

Then the police go serve warrants. — Because at some point, which was passed around 2000 in the US when broadband started being common, it’s no longer "plausible" that persons don’t know the law, can’t claim not responsible because don’t know who’s connecting, and need forced to learn.

Legalisms in the US interfered for a while, but this is EASY. I’ve been wondering. — By the way, related is that DMCA subpoenas are now getting info on subscribers. There was/is a lot of complication in the US due to the mania for public "wi-fi" too.

I think mainly, the content owners are actually happy that you’re hooked on their products, kids. Now the trap is closing…

But this IS the way a reasonable copyright system should work. Downloaders must be held responsible TOO.

BTW: SET TV got default judgment of 7.8 million, so now owes 97 million with the Dish suit, owner will be hounded rest of his life. Another aspect of this is that content owners can let these go a while and then scoop up SOME return off pirates, heh, heh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The thief steals from himself. The swindler swindles himself. For the real price is knowledge and virtue, whereof wealth and credit are signs. These signs, like paper money, may be counterfeited or stolen, but that which they represent, namely, knowledge and virtue, cannot be counterfeited or stolen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I remember when Dallas Buyers Club attempted to scam the Asia-Pacific region, too.

How come you don’t talk about that copyright enforcement heavyweight anymore, blue? Oh, right – it’s because they lost, spectacularly.

Given your standards of proof and evidence I’m fully prepared to see this go nowhere when all the damage you do ends up collateral. Have fun raping money from families who have none, jackass!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

With money you can buy a house, but not a home.

With money you can buy a clock, but not time.

With money you can buy a bed, but not sleep.

With money you can buy a book, but not knowledge.

With money you can buy a doctor, but not good health.

With money you can buy a position, but not respect.

With money you can buy blood, but not life.

With money you can buy sex, but not love..

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: "plausibly can claim ignorance" -- Not any more!

You’re right, if you make up stuff that wasn’t mentioned in the article (but pretend it was), and ignore the reality of how technology actually works, it’s easy to justify human rights abuses.

I personally prefer the real-world solutions of giving people a service they wish to pay for and not prosecuting innocent 3rd parties, but that takes work rather than random hallucinations, so I understand why your lazy delusional ass is against such things.

PaulT (profile) says:

"This can be paraphrased as: "We’re not actually all that concerned if we catch the infringing party. We mostly just want someone to blame for all of this, so we’ll settle for whoever owns the abode, whether they live there or not.""

This is yet another clue as to the reality behind these things – and it’s not to actually stop piracy. It’s clearly a cash grab.

You see, if you want to actually stop piracy, the worst thing you can do is to hold innocent 3rd parties with no knowledge of the infringement liable. Not only does this lead to people committing more piracy (if you’re sued either way, why would you bother wasting money on a legal copy?), it encourages people to frame others for infringement (why risk your own wifi when you know the code to your neighbour’s?).

It all makes sense if the goal is to essentially tax everybody to make up for the income you imagine you lost. As a measure to try and actually stop piracy, it’s not only nonsense, it will have the opposite effect.

ECA (profile) says:

Why would they??

Who is pushing this change?
Really.
I dont get why the politicians are Trying to change WHO they Charge for this.
I wonder how much they Get for changing this and taking Homeowners(not renters) to court..
And Who pays for the ISP to monitor all the data sent to IOT…

i love the idea of USA/WESTERN (EU) crops sending Their Ideals to the middle east and Asia.. Its wonderful that Now, a Movie created in the USA Can not be watched in other countries, and Vice Vera..even tho International laws ARE NOT supposed to go over borders..

btr1701 (profile) says:

“It doesn’t matter if the person is renting the house to another person who bought the device,” the FINAS chairman clarified.

This can be paraphrased as: "We’re not actually all that concerned if we catch the infringing party. We mostly just want someone to blame for all of this, so we’ll settle for whoever owns the abode, whether they live there or not."

This isn’t any different than the red light and speed camera bullshit they have here in the states, where they take a picture of your car allegedly in mid-violation, then mail you the ticket and hold you responsible for it. They don’t care who the actual driver was. You own the car, you’re responsible for any violations committed with it.

They don’t care about making the roads safer by citing the actual violators. They just want the money from the fines. Same with Malaysia. The actual infringement is of no real concern. They just want a new source of revenue and copyright is the vehicle that gets them there.

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