back to article Malaysia tweaks copyright law to hit streamers of copyright-infringing content

Malaysia's House of Representatives has passed an amendment to a 1987 Copyright Act that makes enabling illegal streaming punishable by fine, prison or both. Those who facilitate copyright infringement face fines of RM200,000 ($2,377) or more, up to 20 years prison, or a combination of both, whether their illicit action be …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Copyright is easy when it's obvious...

    Not so much otherwise... I'm trying to find out the copyright status of a book originally written in 1916 and republished (fifth edition) in 1925 in the UK.

    The publisher has disappeared into another printing company about which I can discover nothing, though Companies House indicates that it no longer exists.

    I can't locate a lineal descendant of the author - online genealogy is a joke - though I still have a query or two awaiting responses. Google Books admits of its existence but provides no view and no copyright information...

    The problem is the whole life of the author (fair enough) plus seventy years... say what? Who does that benefit beyond Disney (other multinational copyright conglomerators are available)?

    My best guess is that the copyright still exists with the estate of the author, but I can't locate said estate. I can't even prove the year the author died (I suspect 1953 or soon after, but I can't show it). If I can find the estate, I can ask. If I can find a date of death, I can wait. But, well, I can see why Gutenberg have their rules... it's a nightmare.

    At least it's obvious if you're streaming current films or music; there's little excuse there. But vintage stuff?

    (if you're interested in WW1 recipes: https://github.com/nailed-barnacle/A_Yorkshire_Cookery_Book )

    1. myhandler

      Re: Copyright is easy when it's obvious...

      If you're looking to reprint it, can't you add a statement that you're looking for the descendants etc etc and then make sure you don't spend the profits for 10 years? Or are you hoping to build a TV series around it?

      Why would someone downvote you? Off topic? Oh no, quelle desastre.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Copyright is easy when it's obvious...

        "quel désastre"

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Copyright is easy when it's obvious...

        As an amateur musician I've been buying sheet music pretty much all my life. It used to be extraordinarily expensive with copyright being vigorously enforced by publishers. Although it was obviously for the benefit of widows and orphans, to keep them from starvation and all that, in reality it was to keep the publishers in a lucrative income stream. A critical part of that stream is maintaining a grip on the supply of music -- you'd retire an edition as it was going out of copyright and then produce a new edition, the same music with a sprinkling of editorial changes, with a renewed copyright.

        This is how you'd keep your income stream from works published hundreds of years ago.

        The Internet changed this big time. The result was a crash in cost of collections of classical works but a renewed focus on newer works, anything post 1923 that can be set up to have an effectively infinite copyright lifespan. Publishers are sufficiently predatory that they'll sue first and ask questions later which makes owners of Internet archives a bit paranoid -- if you upload anything to them to have to prove that it can't possibly be claimed by anyone. Just assuming that because the work was first published 100+ years ago isn't good enough -- you have to know the composer's death date (and if the composer is truly obscure good luck with that).

        (Another lucrative business to be in is text books. These are also subject to regular revisions and suspiciously inflated prices. A lot of material doesn't change much, if at all. Its not about taking the bread from peoples' mouths, its about keeping a handful of near monopoly businesses in business.)

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      The problem is the whole life of the author (fair enough) plus seventy years… say what?

      Whom does that benefit beyond Disney (other multinational copyright conglomerators are available)?

      It benefits the heirs/assigns/legatees of the author, particularly if the author dies soon after creating the work.

      Regarding our murine overlords, I take it that the UK doesn’t have different copyright terms for works made for hire? Here in the States, the term for works made for hire that were published after 1978 is the shorter of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: The problem is the whole life of the author (fair enough) plus seventy years… say what?

        You assign the copyright to a legal person -- a corporation -- and it then lives for ever.

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Copyright is easy when it's obvious...

      Try the additional complexity of the book containing images by other people (sometimes not credited in book itself, so have to best guess ID some from the artists signature on images) & having to find out the additional copyright implications of those... Found similar scenario where Google Books gave up on calculating copyright status as too much of a PITA (not a fan of Google, but do make use of Books for copyright checks as they normally are quite a useful source)

      also the fun of tracing copyright holder of an image (to be used in an academic book) & holder wanting to charge lots of money (even though it was essentially advertising for their company), so the "jobbing illustrator" on the book (whose overall fee was not much more than holder wanted for one image, as academic book with likely low sales so very low budget and all authors working for free (maybe royalties down the line..) & artist only person paid upfront) created a similar but different image & copyright holder lost out on free publicity for their company as removed reference to the company from the text as pointless without the original image.

  2. Ol'Peculier

    So what happens if you visit the country with material already loaded onto a tablet or suchlike?

    Asking for a friend, obviously...

    (it always amuses me that, just as you start your descent into KLIA, they choose to announce possession of illegal drugs carries a mandatory death sentence. Could they not say that before you get on the plane?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well they could. Or you could take responsibility for being aware of the laws of the country you are planning on visiting before you get on the plane.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Unless you're Paul McCartney's wife

        As general rule of thumb, anyone transporting drugs across international lines is asking misery, maybe of lifetime of it, and maybe a very short one. Also remember that what counts as illegal drugs varies by country -

        Julie Hamp — Toyota Motor Corp.'s first senior female executive who was appointed head of public relations just weeks ago — has been arrested in Japan for allegedly importing the prescription painkiller oxycodone in violation of the country's narcotics laws. A total of 57 pills were discovered by Japanese customs officials on June 11 inside a package that Hamp mailed to herself from Kentucky, declaring the contents to be a necklace, according to Japanese news reports.

        What counts as legalized professional performance enhancing drugs in the US might be viewed as cheating elsewhere. She wasn't jailed (unlike most would have been) but did lose her podium place.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Unless you're Paul McCartney's wife

          She obviously new there was an issue - you don't declare prescription medicine as a necklace unless you're up to no good

      2. Ol'Peculier

        Just to clarify, I've never tried to take drugs into Malaysia, nor anywhere else for that matter. I've visited a few times, and have friends there, and it's just one of those little cabin announcements that makes me smile.

        But going back to the original subject, there's a big street market somewhere in the centre of KL where you can get knock off Rolexes, western football tops, that kind of thing. Right bang centre of this hive of illegal activity is a police station. Go figure...

      3. tiggity Silver badge

        Or avoid the hassle by not visiting countries with awful human rights records.

        .. Can be a PITA taking moral high ground, lots of historic sites I will never get to see in Turkey as an example, but works wonders in keeping my travel carbon footprint low

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    The RM157m ($37m) allegedly lost in taxes

    This assumes something that everybody knows is false - that one download equals one lost sale.

    Some people pirate because they can, and it's not that hard to do. If it wasn't possible, would they buy it, or just wait until it turns up on broadcast TV? Or, worse, just not bother.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: The RM157m ($37m) allegedly lost in taxes

      @heyrick

      I have had my work "pirated" and yes I have lost sales. 4 of my customers dropped me because they can torrent it and use it. So...

      Let us get this right, "pirates" are not pirates. They are parasites as in they depend on someone else to do all the work so they can sit on their fat arses and just press the download button. Cunts.

      So I downloaded a torrent of my work, poisoned it, and seeded the fucker.

      I laughed when my ex customers wanted to come back as their expensive amplifiers had seemingly trashed themselves. I told them to fuck off.

      Moral, never download my audio mixes. It might be one of my uploads. Fuck the law, you have been warned.

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    So privacy really is a crime

    the amendment updates the previous outdated privacy law that focused on those downloading the content into permanent storage

    Remember, to avoid charge of piracy: when on a boat or ship do not use violence to download copyright material without a license.

  5. pip25
    Big Brother

    "Guilty until proven innocent"

    I hope the lawmakers will be able to experience first-hand what they have unleashed upon their citizens.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: "Guilty until proven innocent"

      Doubt it. That's what connections are for...

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