Minister: Malaysians pirated 84 million files from BitTorrent as industry loses billions

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo gives a speech during the Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit in Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo gives a speech during the Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit in Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

SERDANG, Feb 14 — Malaysian Internet users downloaded 84 million content files of films and TV shows using peer-to-peer file sharing network BitTorrent last year, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo revealed today.

He said this comes as the local industry reported in 2016 that such illegal downloads had cost it RM1.05 billion in loss of revenue and the government RM157 million in lost taxes, while 1,900 jobs were lost in the filming and broadcast industry.

“Given that the entertainment and media industry contribute billions of ringgit in terms of revenue to the country, this is a huge blow to the Malaysian economy,” Gobind said in his speech at the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit here.

The minister also cited Irdeto, a digital platform security company, claiming that Malaysia recorded the second largest share of content piracy in Southeast Asia in 2016 at 17 per cent.

He also cited another unnamed study claiming that the number of visits to websites carrying pirated content is twice the number of visits to those with legitimate content.

Gobind however did not provide any source for his claim of BitTorrent downloads.

Last year, then minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri was reported saying there are 24.5 million internet users in the country. Malaysia has 32.6 million population last year, according to the Department of Statistics.

That would make that each Malaysian downloaded just slightly more than merely three files each, on average.

Meanwhile, the figures of industry’s losses came from internal analysis on market landscape by content provider giant Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, based on three reports: PWG Global Media Outlook Report 2016, Comscore 2016, and Oxford Economics 2014.

The inaugural summit today was organised by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), in collaboration with the Coalition Against Piracy and the Asia Video Industry Association.

It was supported by local content industry including Astro, Media Prima Bhd, dimsum, and iflix.

“As the regulator and developer of Malaysia’s communications and multimedia industry, we are committed to ensure and engender a digital word that is safe from all potential risks including piracy,” MCMC chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak said in an accompanying statement.

*A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.

Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman, Al-Ishsal Ishak, addresses the Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit in Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman, Al-Ishsal Ishak, addresses the Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit in Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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