November 1 – The fight against illegal streaming of English Premier League games has achieved a significant victory after a Singapore-based firm and its director were convicted of infringing copyright by providing pirated content via Android TV boxes
After a 22-month court battle, Synnex Trading was ordered to pay a fine of $160,800, and its main man Jia Xiaofeng sentenced to 12 weeks in jail and fined $5,400 for selling illegal streaming devices.
He pleaded guilty to four criminal charges for “wilfully authorising copyright infringement of copyrighted works for commercial gain” by selling Android TV boxes loaded with apps that provided unauthorised access to programmes including English Premier League games.
Besides selling Android TV boxes at his company’s premises, Jia would help buyers activate their subscription to the pre-installed applications in the device.
The suit against Jia and Synnex was initiated by several rights owners, including the Premier League and pay-TV operators Singtel and StarHub.
“This sentencing shows that this is not a grey area, and that selling these devices is against the law,” Premier League director of legal services Kevin Plumb said.
“We have a team based in our Singapore office committed to protecting our intellectual property rights and fighting piracy, and we will continue to investigate and pursue all suppliers of illegal streaming services in the region,” he added.
The ISDs in question are typically pre-installed with subscription-based applications which provide access to several unauthorised live television channels.
The sentencing came ahead of new laws to be tabled in the Singapore Parliament in the next few months to ban the sale of media streaming boxes with “add-on” services that help consumers to access pirated content.
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