Hotels Stand To Benefit From Offering Legal Entertainment Content For Guests

Le Meridien, Petaling Jaya

Businesses that broadcast pirated live sports or entertainment content at their premises may not realise that the legal risk and reputational damage far outweigh any savings from this illegal action.

In November 2022, a commercial enterprise in Kuala Lumpur, found itself to be in this situation when the High Court of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur issued a landmark ruling determining it to have acted illegally by showing pirate broadcasts of sports and entertainment content without a legitimate commercial broadcast subscription to Astro.

This declaration from the High Court sets a crucial precedent making the law in this area clear – it is illegal for commercial premises to show content from unauthorised sources, whether through pirate foreign channels or Astro broadcasts without the appropriate commercial licence.

On the other hand, businesses such as hotels that offer legal entertainment content for their guests are clearly reaping the benefits from their investment.

According to Le Meridien General Manager Christopher Moore, “While we understand that hotel guests need to be engaged with a steady supply of quality content and choices in their rooms for an extended period of time, it is crucial to keep illegal devices away from business premises.”

“As a reputable hotel brand in the market, we would never use or encourage others to consider using pirated content to serve their hotel guests. This is stealing and illegal. We pride ourselves in doing ethical business and strongly recommend other businesses to do the same. Say no to illegal boxes!” he said.

Ascott Star KLCC Kuala Lumpur

Ascott Hotel Director (Marketing And Communication) Warren Fernandez echoes his statement, adding that illicit streaming devices (ISDs) are not only illegal but also dampen the local economy.

“Businesses should know that a vibrant local economy contributes to job creation and more money for consumers to spend to boost the local economy,” said Fernandez.

“Everyone needs to earn a living, and this is the same for people who are in the creative industry. By taking AstroBIZ, we can do our part to ensure that the people behind these channels get paid,” said M Roof & Residences General Manager Llyod Gan.

“AstroBIZ is an essential ‘value-added’ necessity that allows us to provide great entertainment variety for our guests and this keeps them coming back to stay with us. We even see positive rating reviews increased ever since we engaged Astro as our entertainment,” Moore said.

M Roof Hotel & Residences

Besides entertainment, he said AstroBIZ also provides strong end-to-end solutions to the business, from strong marketing support, TV solutions or event hotel entertainment systems. He said marketing support from AstroBIZ increased sales figures exponentially.

Sharing a similar situation, Gan said the media support given by AstroBIZ managed to drive up sales for M Roof & Residences by 5%, adding that it is competitively priced with minimal investment for Master Antenna Television set-up. According to Fernandez, Ascott Hotel was able to maintain a high level of guest loyalty by offering them a 4K UHD viewing experience.

“From a hospitality industry perspective, it not only helps our guests on channel choices, but it also increases our revenue as the content line-up on sports channels and what AstroBIZ offers is very up to date,” said Fernandez.

These comprehensive case studies provide valuable insight into the importance of hotel businesses staying on the right side of the law while elevating the stay-in experience of their customers.

Measures to save costs are no excuse to flaunt the law, and customers are also increasingly aware of not supporting unethical businesses. Hence, hotels are encouraged to weigh the long-term benefits of providing quality, lawful content for their customers.

ISDs sellers charged and fined
Meanwhile, the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022 introduced amendments to the Copyright Act 1987 to strengthen provisions relating to the enforcement of copyright that was enforced on 18 March 2022.

The key impact of the amendment is the criminalisation of the sale of ISDs and associated software applications that allow unauthorised access to copyright content. Anyone found guilty can be fined up to RM200,000, imprisoned for up to 20 years, or both.

Following are the recent actions against piracy and copyright infringement:

  • On 2 March 2023, the Melaka Magistrate Court imposed fines totalling RM38,500 on three individuals for their involvement in the sale of TV boxes preloaded with unauthorised content.
  • On 3 April 2023, a 22-year-old student was fined by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court for having in his possession an unauthorised link to a popular local TV drama series on his devices.
  • On 5 April 2023, two individuals were charged at the Kuala Lumpur Session Court (Cyber) for selling TV boxes with unauthorised Astro content.
  • On 13 April 2023, two individuals were fined RM14,000 in total by the Kluang Magistrate’s Court for selling TV boxes pre-loaded with unauthorised Astro content.
  • On 16 June 2023, an individual was fined RM20,000 by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for selling TV boxes pre-loaded with unauthorised Astro content.
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