Source: ST

AGC appeals to High Court against “excessive” sentence in illegal streaming devices case

Following the sentencing of a local electronics retailer to three months of jail and a S$5,400 fine for copyright infringement via illegal streaming devices sold at his store, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has made an appeal against what it has deemed to be “excessive” sentences meted out by the State Courts.

The AGC, in a statement yesterday (31 Oct), argued that the submissions made in the State Courts for sentencing was “erroneous, in that it relied on a previous decision of the State Courts which had been overruled”.

“The sentences imposed may thus have been excessive,” added AGC.

Jia Xiaofeng, the director of Synnex Trading, was found to have sold illegal streaming devices, commonly known as Android TV boxes, from his electronics store on Geylang Road. 

The boxes – which were falsely advertised as legal and containing legitimately sourced content – were found to have been loaded with apps enabling unauthorised access to films, TV shows, video-on-demand and live sports including Premier League football matches.

Jia, who was described in court papers as “the controlling mind of Synnex”, sold an Android TV box within the price range of S$369 and S$469, in addition to offering an annual subscription service to pirated content for S$95, The Straits Times observed.

He was said to have “obtained a commercial advantage” through the sale of the illicit boxes.

The case has established that the sale of such Android TV boxes is illegal.

Synnex Trading was also ordered to pay a fine of S$160,800 for the same four criminal charges of copyright infringement Jia was subject to.

Illegal streaming devices may open viewers to risks of fraud, identity theft: Premier League Director of Legal Services

Kevin Plumb, Premier League Director of Legal Services, said on Wed that the above case demonstrates that “there are serious consequences for sellers of illegal streaming devices”, and that “the Premier League will prosecute those responsible for the piracy of our content”.

“We have fantastic passionate fans in Singapore and we are protecting those who watch Premier League content in the right way. Those who don’t, leave themselves open to a number of risks including becoming victims of fraud or identity theft.

“This sentencing shows that this is not a grey area, and that selling these devices is against the law,” he added.

“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,” Plumb stressed.

Previously in Apr, the Premier League, Singtel, StarHub and Fox Networks Group had also managed to prosecute another supplier, An-Nahl, in connection with the present case.

The trading firm and its director Abdul Nagib Abdul Aziz were fined S$1,200 after pleading guilty to one criminal charge of copyright infringement.