Copyright Law Is Dead Meat Walking – Helpless TV Network Provider Pays Customers For Turning In Illegal Set-Top Boxes

Copyright Law Is Dead Meat Walking – Helpless TV Network Provider Pays Customers For Turning In Illegal Set-Top Boxes

Here are two professions that are NOT recommended for young people: Copyright Lawyer and Knocker-up lady.

A ‘Knocker-up’ was hired to ensure that people would wake up on time for their jobs. The lady in the photo above earned sixpence a week shooting dried peas at sleeping workers’ windows in East London in the 1930s (click here).

While it is very obvious that Knocker-up ladies became obsolete by the alarm clocks in our smartphones, the profession of a Copyright lawyer is a more hidden profession that does not appear on the first view.

But it is true, Internet kills Copyright and with that goes the job of Copyright lawyers. I have written about that on my blog before (click here).

Here is an article that I found in the local newspaper: a TV Network Provider pays customers for turning in set-top boxes that can be used to view movies for free from the Internet (click here or here, if the first link does not work).

SINGAPORE: StarHub will offer two years of free rental of its StarHub TV+ box worth S$120 to customers who turn in their old pirate set-top boxes, the company said on Friday (Jul 23).

The initiative will “encourage the move towards legitimate content sources ahead of time”, said StarHub, as Singapore moves to clamp down on the sale of pirate set-top boxes.

“Starting tomorrow (Saturday), StarHub will grant a total of S$120 to each customer willing to part ways with pirate set-top boxes that may not be in compliance with the proposed amendments to Singapore’s Copyright Act,” StarHub said in a media release.

“In exchange, customers will get free two-year rental of StarHub TV+ box, a plug-and-play Android TV-based media player which offers one-screen-for-all cinematic viewing experience with Ultra HD 4K support and fast Wi-Fi connectivity.”

Customers can drop off their pirate set-top boxes for a “free and safe disposal” at selected StarHub shops before signing up for StarHub TV+, which costs S$30 a month.

This is the background for that unusual action: while it is forbidden under the Copyright Act to sell such set-top boxes in Singapore (click here and here), one can still order them from overseas and get them delivered via mail into Singapore. Use of these set-top boxes by a consumer in Singapore is not illegal.

The Singapore customs are in principle in charge of such imported Copyright infringements but in times of Covid-19, they are simply overloaded with the streams of goods that come in. The customs officers cannot cope with the amount of work that is involved in enforcing the Copyright Act. Internet shops know how to disguise commercial shipments such that they will not be confiscated by customs.

I do not know how that marketing idea of paying customers for turning in set-top boxes could get promoted within that TV Network company, but this is the writing on the wall.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Don´t become a Copyright lawyer today. Unless you work in a country with easily enforcable Statutory Damages for Copyright infringements in place.


Martin “Good Old Copyright” Schweiger

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