Singapore High Court Blocks Access to ‘Pirate’ Set-Top Box Apps

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The Singapore High Court has handed down an injunction which requires several local Internet service providers to block access to popular 'pirate' apps. The order, which has not yet been made public, was issued following a complaint from local TV companies plus Fox International and the UK's Premier League.

Configurable set-top boxes are a continuing thorn in the side of entertainment industry groups everywhere.

Such devices often come pre-loaded with software applications that provide access to infringing copies of movies, TV shows, and other content. They’re also the weapon of choice for pirates looking to obtain live television, particularly sports, without paying the going rates from official suppliers.

As a result, content companies around the world are responding to the threat, either by tackling app developers head on or via applications for Internet service provider blocking orders.

Over in Singapore, the latter has now been achieved. On November 2, 2018, the High Court ordered several local ISPs to block access to several popular ‘pirate’ applications.

The order has not yet been made public but Neil Gane, General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), informs TorrentFreak that the plaintiffs were Singnet PTE Ltd, Fox Networks Group Singapore PTE Ltd, NGC Network Asia LLC, Fox International Channels (US) Inc, and The Football Association Premier League Limited.

The applications to be blocked will be revealed in due course but Gain says the application was heard earlier this month. (Update: All the application listed in the order have already been blocked by ISPs)

“The motion was heard at the Singapore High Court on 2nd November. Judicial Commissioner Dedar Singh Gill subsequently granted the proposed Orders against eight authentication server domains,” Gain explains.

“Singapore has been considered a bastion of Intellectual Property rights across the region, and the court’s decision to block access to popular illegal applications preloaded onto ISDs and sold in Singapore reaffirms this contention.”

Moving forward, Gain says the content industry will continue its efforts to “prevent and disrupt” illegal feeds featuring live sports, TV channels, and VOD content, which are currently being monetized by “crime syndicates.”

“Consumers who buy ISDs are not only funding crime groups, but also wasting their money when the channels stop working. ISDs do not come with a ‘service guarantee’, no matter what the seller may claim,” he adds.

While the plaintiffs listed above are members of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy, the group’s reach is more extensive. In addition to the above, members include beIN Sports, Discovery, The Walt Disney Company, FOX Networks Group, HBO Asia, La Liga, NBCUniversal, Netflix, BBC Worldwide, CANAL+, the NBA, Sony, and several other content providers.

As far as public records show, this is the third blocking injunction handed down by the High Court in Singapore in recent months.

Back in May, it was revealed that ISPs had blocked dozens of torrent and streaming platforms (including The Pirate Bay plus KickassTorrents and Solarmovie variants) following a successful application from the MPAA.

Early October, a so-called ‘dynamic‘ blocking order was made public, with Hollywood studios given the ability to block sites more efficiently when they attempt to circumvent the earlier order.

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