- Malaysia took its biggest step against piracy yet by shutting down hundreds of websites offering access to pirate set-top boxes.
- The country has also set new regulations in place that should prevent the sale of pirated hardware and software.
- Failing to meet the standards will lead to fines of up to US$24,500.
Pirate set-top boxes have been highly controversial, and they draw not only the ire of broadcasters but also governments. Malaysia took action against 246 websites that offer access to content through illegitimate means as part of a recent takedown. A number of importers and distributors were caught selling Android devices offering pirated content which led to the takedown.
Piracy has become simpler than ever before. Prior to the era of pirate set-top boxes, users would need to know where to look for content. Today, searching for pirate set-top boxes presents you with hundreds of options to choose from and you may find vendors even on social media platforms. Malaysia and other parts of Asia have been heavily affected by such piracy, and it was about time for the government to step in.
The decision to block the websites was made by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). MCMC Network Security and Enforcement Sector chief officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin stated: “We are working closely with the ministry and only through their complaints and the details provided to us, such as their domain and URLs of the illegal streaming sites, can we act to block the access.”
Malaysia is not done with putting an end to piracy just yet. Authorities in the country are planning on setting certification and quality assurance standards that set-top boxes need to pass if they are to be approved for sale. Samples need to be submitted to authorities, and they cannot be sold without approval. Failure to meet the set standards can lead to fines of up to US$24,500.