The Indonesia based IndoXXI group, which controls a large number of illegal piracy websites and applications, has “claimed” that it had officially closed its operations as of January 1st, 2020. The Minister of Communications and Information (KOMINFO), Johnny Plate, continues to be vocal in the media, encouraging both consumers and piracy site operators to do the right thing, noting that the site had taken the initiative not to show pirated content, which he described as “a good initiative”.
However, since this announced closure, many other piracy sites, including some obvious copycat clones of IndoXXI, have become available. These new piracy sites were quickly identified by the Video Coalition of Indonesia (VCI) and immediately referred to KOMINFO to be blocked. In the last seven days, over 200 new piracy sites have been identified and referred to KOMINFO.
But is site blocking by itself enough to deter this profitable online crime, asks the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), the trade association for the video industry and ecosystem in Asia Pacific. Following the December release of an AVIA commissioned YouGov survey which found that 63 per cent of Indonesians access piracy streaming websites, the Indonesian government vowed to identify and prosecute those operating the IndoXXI piracy websites unless they cease their operations. The sudden increase in new piracy sites would suggest the operators are not listening to the government’s warning.
The VCI, although appreciative of the site blocking, has implored the government to prosecute criminally those operators behind the piracy websites who are stealing content and illegally monetising movies and TV shows.
“The Indonesian content industry finance, create and distribute the movies and TV shows that our people love,” noted Mira Lesmana, one of indonesia’s most prominent producer, commented Mira Lesmana, one of indonesia’s most prominent producers. “However, piracy websites allow criminals to make money from our hard work. How is this fair? We need to be able to recoup our financial investments to fund new creative content. We encourage the government to track down and prosecute those Indonesian-based operators who are behind these networks of piracy sites.”
“Society does not accept blatant theft from retail malls and neither should it be accepted on the Internet,” added Neil Gane, the General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP). “Unfortunately, online piracy is an easy form of theft. It is also organised crime, pure and simple, with crime syndicates such as IndoXXI, LK21 , Bioskoperen making substantial illicit profit from operating piracy streaming websites . Many syndicates and individuals associated with the piracy ecosystem are involved in other criminal endeavours including illicit online gambling, and there is a likelihood that part of the illegal proceeds are used to finance these other crimes.”
The financial damage that online piracy does to Indonesia’s creative industries is without dispute, suggests AVIA. However, the damage done to consumers themselves, because of the nexus between content piracy and malware, is only beginning to be understood. Accessing piracy streaming websites such as IndoXXI is fraught with risks. Unfortunately, the appetite for ‘free’ blinkers some consumers from the real risks of malware infection, and AVIA warns that the type of malware embedded within advertisements or content files can include particularly harmful malware such as ransomware or remote access trojans which allows the hacker to activate and record from the device’s webcam without the victim being aware.
Members of the VCI include AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), APFI, APROFI, GPBSI , Emtek Group, MNC Group, Viva Group, Telkom Indonesia, Cinema 21 Group, CGV, Cinemaxx, HOOQ, iflix, Viu, GoPlay, Rewind, SuperSoccerTV and Catchplay.