Why Singaporeans resort to pirated contents: IPOS explains

IPOS warns consumers that they could still face Copyright Act infringement.

After research and consulting firm Sycamore revealed on Tuesday that 39 per cent of Singaporeans illegally stream or download movies, shows and live sports, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has pointed out the lack of access to legal content at reasonable prices as the major reason why citizens resort to violating copyrights.

IPOS is calling the providers of content streaming services for movies, TV shows and live sports to offer "competitive prices" so consumers would not be forced to infringe copyrights online. In Sycamore's survey, 31 per cent of the respondents say they have no means to stream TV shows or series legally that they want, while 28 per cent says the same for movies.

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"While we do not condone piracy, we encourage the industry to continue their efforts in making more legitimate content available at competitive prices," says an IPOS spokesperson in a query of Channel News Asia.

IPOS has marked the thin line of what is legal and what is unlawful. Streaming becomes illegal once streaming devices, like set-top boxes for TV, offers to crawl signals used by pay-TV operators to deliver the contents.

With regards to liability, copyright owners could file legal action against streaming service providers for showing unlawfully obtained contents, rather than consumers. However, it has to be noted that individuals could still face a potential civil violation under the Copyright Act.