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Singapore court imposes S$166,200 fine – three month jail term in anti-piracy case

In what has been described as a landmark court case, a Singapore-based retail outlet Synnex Trading and its director Jia Xiaofeng were fined S$160,800 in a piracy related case. Apart from the fine for four charges of copyright infringement, Xiaofeng was fined an additional S$5,400 and given a three month jail term.

The case was brought by the Premier League, Singtel, StarHub and Fox Networks against Synnex for selling illicit streaming devices (ISDs) – set-top boxes preloaded with  software that allowed unauthorised access to thousands of TV channels and video-on-demand content including sports. 

The conviction marks the second successful prosecution in Singapore against ISD retailers.

Singapore’s copyright laws had been amended earlier this year, specifically to take on illicit streaming devices 

The Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) coalition against piracy has been highlighting the detrimental effects of these devices for a while now, with periodic updates on the extent of the problem in countries like Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines

AVIA’s coalition against piracy general manager Neil Gane said: “Today’s sentencing provides both a deterrence and clarity to ISD retailers in Sim Lim Square and elsewhere, that selling illicit streaming devices is illegal.

“ISD retailers mislead consumers when they claim that the content accessible through such TV boxes is legal and that requisite subscription charges goes to rights-holders.

“As such, consumers are wasting their money when purchasing an ISD and an alleged ‘annual subscription’ especially when they find their ISD can no longer access live sports matches or their favourite TV shows. ISDs can never provide quality programming and a service guarantee, contrary to what consumers may be told by unscrupulous retailers.”

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