Is streaming of pirated content illegal?

Are Android media boxes going to be banned? What will the new Copyright Act to be tabled this year portend for sellers of media devices and consumers?

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Android media set-top boxes are found everywhere - in Sim Lim Square and in electronics chains like Harvey Norman and Best Denki - and they sell for as little as $200 apiece. The media boxes stream content from different online sources including Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, and project it onto a regular TV screen.

Questions over the legality of these boxes have surfaced over the past two years when two retailers - Synnex Trading and An-Nahl - were dragged to court in January last year for allegedly infringing copyright by helping people access pirated content via the Android boxes they sell.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2019, with the headline Is streaming of pirated content illegal?. Subscribe