Singapore a haven for video piracy, industry group claims

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A group of large US entertainment companies, including Walt Disney, Sony Entertainment, Viacom. 20th Century Fox and HBO, as well as sports bodies such as the National Basketball Association and the English Premier League, have accused Singapore of being a haven for pirating copyrighted videos and live streams from their respective pay channels.

Called the Coalition Against Piracy, the group alleges that viewers in the city state buy legitimate set-top boxes that also allow unauthorised streaming of thousands of movies, TV shows and live sporting events, The group has therefore asked the Singapore government for pirating software within devices sold in physical electronic stores, as well as on online marketplaces such as Lazada and AliExpress, to be curtailed.

“Within the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore is the worst in terms of availability of illicit streaming devices,” said Neil Gane, general manager of the Coalition, referring to countries where the boxes are considered legal, adding that “they have access to hundreds of illicit broadcasts of channels and video-on-demand content.”

Smart set-top boxes allow Singaporeans to use apps that access programming not shown at home because it’s censored, lacks a licensing deal or requires a subscription fee users don’t want to pay.

Some of the devices scraping the Internet for unauthorized content come from Chinese vendors such as Unblock and EVPad. The square gadgets can be bought either with the streaming apps already installed for plug-and-pirate use or with embedded links for downloading those apps, and cost as little as $74. Tutorials to set them up are found on YouTube and Baidu Inc.’s online forum.

The Singapore government said it does not consider the devices themselves to be illegal. The boxes also can view legally available websites such as YouTube.

“The legal question here isn’t whether or not a device is illegal, but whether or not they’re being used in a manner that is illegal”, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore said in a statement. However, accessing content through “backchannels” would definitely break the law, it said which is why the Singapore government has ordered a crackdown on unauthorised streaming of online videos.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A group of large US entertainment companies, including Walt Disney, Sony Entertainment, Viacom. 20th Century Fox and HBO, as well as sports bodies such as the National Basketball Association and the English Premier League, have accused Singapore of being a haven for pirating copyrighted videos and live streams from their respective pay channels.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A group of large US entertainment companies, including Walt Disney, Sony Entertainment, Viacom. 20th Century Fox and HBO, as well as sports bodies such as the National Basketball Association and the English Premier League, have accused Singapore of being a haven for pirating copyrighted videos and live streams from their respective pay channels.

Called the Coalition Against Piracy, the group alleges that viewers in the city state buy legitimate set-top boxes that also allow unauthorised streaming of thousands of movies, TV shows and live sporting events, The group has therefore asked the Singapore government for pirating software within devices sold in physical electronic stores, as well as on online marketplaces such as Lazada and AliExpress, to be curtailed.

“Within the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore is the worst in terms of availability of illicit streaming devices,” said Neil Gane, general manager of the Coalition, referring to countries where the boxes are considered legal, adding that “they have access to hundreds of illicit broadcasts of channels and video-on-demand content.”

Smart set-top boxes allow Singaporeans to use apps that access programming not shown at home because it’s censored, lacks a licensing deal or requires a subscription fee users don’t want to pay.

Some of the devices scraping the Internet for unauthorized content come from Chinese vendors such as Unblock and EVPad. The square gadgets can be bought either with the streaming apps already installed for plug-and-pirate use or with embedded links for downloading those apps, and cost as little as $74. Tutorials to set them up are found on YouTube and Baidu Inc.’s online forum.

The Singapore government said it does not consider the devices themselves to be illegal. The boxes also can view legally available websites such as YouTube.

“The legal question here isn’t whether or not a device is illegal, but whether or not they’re being used in a manner that is illegal”, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore said in a statement. However, accessing content through “backchannels” would definitely break the law, it said which is why the Singapore government has ordered a crackdown on unauthorised streaming of online videos.

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