The Singapore High Court has granted an order sought by BBC Studios, Discovery, the Premier League, La Liga and broadcaster TVB for Singapore’s Internet Service Providers to block access to seventeen domains associated with popular piracy streaming sites and forty-one domains associated with popular illicit streaming device (ISD) applications.
These apps, which flagrantly infringe copyright by acting as gateways to websites or content servers streaming pirated content, are preloaded on ISDs, which are overtly sold in retail outlets such as Sim Lim Square and on popular e-markets.
Piracy streaming websites and the illicit streaming device (ISD) ecosystem impacts all businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content. Configuring ISDs with applications to stream content from illegal content servers allows consumers to access unauthorised premium TV channels, live sports channels and movies for the one-off price of the ISD and (often) a yearly subscription to access the content. The retail sale of the ISD and the advertising revenue from piracy websites goes into the pockets of criminal syndicates and individuals who all benefit from the spoils of such a crime.
“The content industry will make every effort to prevent and disrupt the illegal feeds of live sports, TV channels and VoD content which are being monetised by crime syndicates,” asserted Neil Gane, the General Manager of pay-TV trade body AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP). “Consumers who buy ISDs or access piracy streaming sites are not only funding crime groups, but also wasting their time and money when the channels and websites stop working. Piracy services do not come with a ‘service guarantee’, no matter what the ISD seller or website operators may claim.”
A new study on the online content viewing behaviour in Singapore, found that 17 per cent of Singapore consumers and nearly a third (32 per cent) of 18 – 24 year olds, access streaming piracy websites or torrent sites. The survey, commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s CAP and conducted by YouGov, also found that 10 per cent of consumers use an ISD to stream pirated content.
Despite the unhealthy appetite for accessing piracy services, the YouGov survey also found that overwhelming majority (86 per cent) of those surveyed recognised that online piracy had negative consequences. Other results showed 53 per cent of online consumers were of the view that online piracy increases the risk of malware infections on computers and devices, 52 per cent recognised that crime groups financially benefit from the stolen content, and 42 per cent were concerned that piracy puts the livelihood of those who work in the creative industry at risk.
When asked who should be responsible for preventing online piracy in Singapore, consumers were of the view that the individuals (by choosing not to buy/watch pirated content) were the most responsible with the Singapore government deemed the second most responsible.