Indonesian laws cope with the ISD problem

31 July 2019

Indonesian laws cope with the ISD problem

A study conducted by YouGov revealed that 29 percent of online viewers in Indonesia are watching pirated TV programs and videos on demand, using an illegal streaming device called a TV set-top box.

A study conducted by YouGov revealed that 29 percent of online viewers in Indonesia are watching pirated TV programs and videos on demand, using an illegal streaming device (ISD) called a TV set-top box.

This type of device is equipped with illegal apps that let users plug into their TV set and watch hundreds of different pirated TV programs and other videos. They are also called “Kodi boxes” or Android TV boxes and are easily available as they run via legitimate software.

Commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association Coalition Against Piracy, the survey also revealed that of the 29 percent who watch pirated content via an ISD, 66 percent said they cancelled all or some of their legitimate subscriptions to pay TV service as a result. Thirty-three percent cancelled their subscriptions to a local online video service in particular.

Meanwhile, these free streaming apps were found to be the preference of those within the 18-24 age bracket. With low to zero subscription fees, ISDs are a very attractive option to these youngsters.

Also, 44 percent of the survey participants who have ISDs said they bought the device from an e-commerce platform, one of the largest in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, 31 percent claimed to have bought theirs from one of the most globally-popular social media channels.

ISDs and piracy have been serious problems the past few years, affecting intellectual property rights or IPR owners and the industries to which they belong.

“The Indonesian music and movie industry has suffered a huge loss of the market due to piracy in all forms. It is reported that the film industry has lost around Rp1.5 trillion (US$107 million) to piracy in only four cities in Indonesia, according to a 2017 study by the University of Indonesia’s Institute for Economic and Social Research,” says Risti Wulansari, a partner at K&K Advocates in Jakarta.

The law firm has assisted in numerous cases of counterfeit and piracy including one that involved a cyberlocker website and an international organization representing the global recording industry. (Cyberlockers are third-party file-sharing services, which are sometimes known as file hosting services.) The website uploaded and downloaded content illegally, thus violating copyright. The organization sought the assistance of K&K Advocates in taking down the cyberlocker site.

Indonesia does have adequate laws to counter the problem, says Wulansari.

“Although there are a number of applicable exceptions allowing a copyright’s creation to be used without obtaining permission from the copyright owner/holder, these exceptions do not prevent the protection/applicability of copyrightable creation in the online platform,” she says.

“Therefore, these exceptions are not exempting the obligation of the provider of ISD to obtain proper license from the copyright owner/holder. Accordingly, any use of copyrighted material on various platforms such as TV set-top boxes may only be made under authorization of the copyright owner or holder, unless an exemption that circumvents the applicability of copyright protection is implemented.”

Aside from the Copyright Law, Wulansari also mentions Law No. 11 of 2008 on Information and Electronic Transaction. Law 11/2008 stipulates that copyright protection in information systems, films or digital content that are processed or extracted into computers or similar devices are referred to as Electronic Documents. Article 25 reads “Electronic Information and/or Electronic Documents that are created into intellectual works, internet sites, and intellectual works contained therein shall be protected as Intellectual Property Rights under provisions of Rules.”

Wulansari also cites the Joint Regulation of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights No. 14 of 2015 and Ministry of Communication and Informatics Regulation No. 26 of 2015 on the Implementation of Content Closure and/or User Access Rights of Copyright Infringement and/or Related Rights in Electronic Systems.

“This regulation stipulates reporting procedures which allow any injured parties to report copyright violation in the information system, as well as the applicable sanctions of copyright infringement in the form of blocking content and/or the right of access to the copyright work that has been violated,” she explains.

She acknowledges, though, that enforcement of rights remains a challenge in Indonesia.

“In particular, legal enforcement in relation with transformation of copyright from original form to another form has not been conducted properly due to the lack of understanding on the concept of copyrights protection and the scope it covers, at the legal enforcement authority. This problem leads to unsatisfactory results from enforcement actions brought by rights owners. Another thing that can be done is to impose more severe penalties for violators of IPR,” she says.

Wulansari suggests other measures which may be taken to help combat copyright infringement: educating the public especially ISD owners, training legal enforcement authorities and enhancing their knowledge on copyright, and handling IPR violations with the cooperation of IPR owners associations.

“To our knowledge, a number of existing Indonesian IPR organizations have commenced certain efforts to combat piracy, including reporting illegal streaming websites and composing a list of websites that infringed copyright to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights or Ministry of Communication and Informatics for the purpose of blocking content and/or access rights and closing sites and/or content that infringes copyright,” says Wulansari. “With consistent monitoring by the IPR organizations, the act of piracy is believed to be effectively decreased.”

YouGov surveys were also conducted in other Asian countries to determine people’s online content viewing habits. Taiwan posted an even higher level of TV box usage for pirated content viewing with 34 percent. The Philippines came in close at 28 percent followed by Malaysia with 25 percent, Hong Kong with 20 percent, and Singapore at 15 percent.

According to Wulansari, a strong IP protection system is a plus point when attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). Compared to most of Southeast Asia, countries with less counterfeiting and piracy cases have been found to be the recipients of FDI from richer economies.

She also says that innovation is regarded as a major economic driver. Therefore, if IP protection is weak in a particular country, “the motivation to develop new ideas and products would be reduced, thereby weakening the innovation process.”


Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Law firms

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