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Android set-top boxes for TV streaming: Copyright or wrong?

Streaming videos is piracy, say pay TV operators; lawyers unclear on liability

Published on Jul 20, 2014 5:51 AM
The Internet set-top boxes are essentially tiny computers running on the Android operating system and are pre-loaded with apps, such as PPTV and Funshion, which stream movies and TV shows for free. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Pay TV operators SingTel and StarHub, along with content owners such as Fox and TVB, are crying foul over the rise of cheap Internet boxes which allow users to get premium, high-definition programmes from as low as $6 a month.

But it is unclear if people who buy these Android set-top boxes and subscribe to streaming services are breaking the the law.

On a recent visit to Sim Lim Square, The Sunday Times found more than 10 shops selling these boxes openly. Shopkeepers said sales have gone up from three boxes a day two years ago to more than 10 boxes daily, thanks to sleeker designs and greater consumer awareness.

During the recent football World Cup, some shops sold as many as 18 boxes a day.

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