KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 – The act of paying RM14 for a movie ticket and then using a smartphone to “share” that movie experience with friends via Facebook and Instagram has cost one man RM100,000.
Yes, that is the price one must pay for the crime of copyright infringement.
The New Straits Times reported that the Taiping High Court ordered Muhammad Izwan Shah Kamal Shah to pay RM100,000 to Skop Productions (Skop) for committing the crime when watching the company’s blockbuster hit, Munafik 2.
Court ruled in favour of SKOP
The court ruled in favour of Skop managing director Datuk Yusof Haslam and his son, Syamsul, the film’s director, who filed the claim against the defendant last month.
Skop had last month filed a complaint with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and the police, over Izwan’s breach of the movie’s copyright terms by uploading the movie onto his Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Skop had also claimed that the movie was shared by several social media sites for public viewing. This is an offence under Section 4(1) of the Copyright Act 1987 for possessing copyrighted material which were made or republished without the authority, agreement or consent of the copyright owner.
First conviction over screening movie via Facebook
Izwan could have faced a jail term of up to five years, or a maximum fine of RM200,000, or both.
Munafik 2, which stars Maya Karin and Nasir Bilal Khan, has reportedly collected about RM43 million in the box-office since its opening on August 30 in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.
This case is believed to be the first conviction by local movie producers against such copyright infringement carried out via social media. However, it is not the first reported case.
FB Live used to air movie from cinema last year
In August last year, two cinemagoers were said to have streamed a new Malay movie using Facebook Live.
The use of the FB Live video streaming facility by the two people when watching “Kau Yang Satu” was believed to have drawn 200,000 viewers, with the movie’s producers telling Astro Awani that it had incurred losses close to RM2 million.
Previously, such copyright infringement occured with individuals capturing a whole movie on digital cameras and later transferring the video into DVDs for sale.
This FB Live incident was believed to be the first time a movie had been illegally captured live from a cinema directly on an FB user’s page in Malaysia. It is not known if such an incident has happened anywhere else in the world as yet.
FB Live was introduced on April 6, 2016 and became notably famous three months later when it was used to live stream a police shooting of a black man in Minnesota, in the United States.
“Kau Yang Satu”, which was directed by Osman Ali and jointly produced by Global Station, AstroShaw and Nuansa, and released on July 27, 2017.
Khairul Anwar Salleh, Astro’s Malay Business Division vice-president told Astro Awani the FB Live act could have cost the company RM2 million in cinema ticket sales.
“Based on the fact that the recording was seen by 200,000 people, at a ticket price of RM10, the producers have suffered losses of RM2 million,” he told the portal.