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In an unprecedented case, a group of rights owners — including telcos here — have sought a private prosecution against two companies and their directors for selling legitimate set-top boxes which give users unbridled access to copyrighted programmes.
Lawyers whom TODAY spoke to said the case could be a landmark, as it provides an opportunity for the court to clarify its legal positions on the law concerning set-top boxes which do not store or decrypt copyrighted content.
Mr Gane had voiced concerns over the “overt sales” of set-top boxes in malls and IT fairs.
This, he said, is rarely seen “in such volume” in other parts of the region.
The Straits Times obtained a copy of US court transcripts, which showed that Chow, a US citizen, had cut a plea deal to help US prosecutors in their probe against the company and its American unit, Keppel Offshore & Marine USA.
Chow told the court he had realised by 2008 that Keppel was "overpaying the agent, sometimes by millions of dollars, so that the agent could pay bribes to individuals who could help Keppel Offshore & Marine doing business with Petrobras".
According to the State Courts’ hearing list published on its website, a hearing is scheduled on Friday (Jan 12) where set-top box distributor Synnex Trading and its client, An-Nahl, a wholesale goods retailer located in Tanjong Katong Complex, could become the first Android box sellers to be hauled to court under the Copyright Act.
Lawyer Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons added that the case would be the “first of its kind”, and it would be interesting to see “what kind of decision the court arrives at”.However, in the past three to five years, new technologies have allowed pirates to circumvent the law, and the set-top boxes nowadays that use apps to stream content do not have decoders and are considered legal.The court schedule lists Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) general manager Neil Kevin Gane as the complainant.TODAY understands he is acting on behalf of four parties, including Star Hub.The criminal case proceeded to court after all parties involved in the case could not reach a settlement following the filing of a Magistrate’s Complaint.