Malaysia Passes Bill to Imprison Illegal Streaming Pirates For Up To 20 Years

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Malaysia's House of Representatives has passed amendments to copyright law that will boost the country's deterrent against those who facilitate access to pirate content via illegal streaming. The amendments, which cover both hardware and software, could see offenders imprisoned for up to 20 years.

Laws that forbid the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted content are common around the world but the rise of streaming has sometimes exposed gaps in legislation. Piracy-equipped Kodi devices, illegal streaming apps, and similar tools have led legal specialists to attempt to apply laws that didn’t envision the technology. In Malaysia, for example, it took a decision by the High Court last May to determine that the sale and distribution of streaming devices configured for piracy purposes does indeed constitute infringement under the Copyright Act.

But Malaysia was far from done. After previously informing the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the economic harm being caused to broadcasters and rightsholders in the country was a “serious problem”, Malaysia said it had amendments on the table to more directly tackle the illegal uploading, provision, and sharing of access to copyright works.