Say Hello to ISP Liability act

You may have not heard it , but its coming to a Malaysia near you. Thats right people , its the ISP Liability Act , which allows ISPs to terminate your service if you’ve been downloading copyrighted materials such as movies and music. So good news for those who are in the recording industry and bad for the rest of us. I’ll say why in a moment.
Oh yeah , if you aren’t from Malaysia and if you’re reading this and if a similar law is in place in your country. Please comment !
(more after the jump)

Before that , let us take a look at Malaysia as a whole. We are a developing nation which means that we have to work on and push ourselves to be a developed nation. There is nothing wrong with that , in fact there are a lot of developing nation. One thing that concerns me is our Internet Service Providers , I mean recently TM has started to do something funny about shaping International bandwidth , some of the people have complained that their international speeds have been throttled to 512Kbps/256Kbps , you may read more about it here . I’ve pointed this out as a majority of us use TM Streamyx for obvious reasons – “Unlimited”.
Why Malaysians love to download ?
A number of use our Internet to download things , right from pornography (yes you can find a lot of “3gp scandal videos in file sharing sites like rapidshare) , latest blockbuster films , music , applications , games – you name it , you can get them from the Internet . I agree thats illegal to download. Now you must look into the fact on why Malaysians do that. For instance a music CD costs roughly around RM 30 for the Malaysian version and for its international version , well it costs RM 50 and above. If you compare to Internet services in Malaysia , for instance Streamyx – well the cheapest plan would cost you RM 60 for unlimited 384Kbps . So for a Malaysian , it would be cheaper to download the whole album rather then buying it , as the cost of these albums are pretty expensive. It goes the same for original DVDs , although VCDs are bit more cheaper but the quality for VCDs do suck and a lot of Malaysians prefer DVD (it could be pirated ones) for its quality. I know that some of us prefer blu-ray but then a lot of malaysians are still using SDTV.
Do we even have a decent music service like iTunes ?
It brings me on to the next question , do we even have a decent digital music service in Malaysia. For instance popular services like iTunes does not cater for Malaysians. Instead we have half baked services which offer digital music download. I know of a few , but I couldn’t able to recall them. Plus all of them do have some sort of DRM which only allows certain devices to work – for instance the files are in Windows Media audio and its not possible to play them back on my iPod as it doesn’t allow copy protected Windows Media audio to be played. Heck , it can’t even play normal ones in the first place.  Plus their content aren’t enough. I am a big Indian Carnatic fan and Western Classical music , the music store does not even cater 16th century classical music , at all as opposed to major music stores like Napster , iTunes . They do have a variety of them

Pirated DVDs in Malaysia. Its popular and cheap ! (via
Pirated DVDs in Malaysia. Its popular and cheap ! (via

What about pirated DVDs ?
Now by imposing this new law , its not going to curb the entire issue , as a lot of Malaysians would generally revert back to the good ol’ ways of getting DVDs from pirated DVD Sellers. We do know that pirated DVD sellers are complaining decline of sales , thanks to the introduction of broadband. Now if the law is in place , a lot of us would simply just go back to our regular ways of buying pirated DVDs. The reason why people resort to buying pirated DVDs is because its a short-term investment – as you are just going to watch the movie once or twice. You are not going to see it everyday , so why you should spend RM 50 for something that you are going to watch for once. Now there is another quesiton , what about movies which are banned in Malaysia ? There are some movies which were banned in Malaysia due to several reasons , but some of us would prefer to watch it at our homes. An example would be Brokeback Mountain.

Other countries do have similar laws in place….
As for comparing with other countries , well lets just say that they have a choice , or their ISPs just only takes them down when they have started downloading pirated content there is like no tomorrow. At least they have a lot of choices for them to pucrhase their music from as opposed to us. Plus they do get way better quality services and not to mention that yo can get to view video on demand services such as Hulu (if you’re in the US) or BBC/Channel 5/Channel 4/iTV (in the UK) – which defeats the purpose of downloading ! Sadly we don’t have that kind of service in Malaysia , so once again no point comparing with foreign ISPs. It doesn’t make sense at all
Am I promoting piracy ?  – No , I am just merely pointed out the flaws. You can’t curb it like that . Its not going to solve the issue.  What the authorities should be doing is making sure that ISP delivers decent speed to its customers. Then from there work on a solution , if you ask me on what the solution be. I was thinking of getting all the ISPs , record companies and the government to team up and start an online music portal. For a mere small monthly fee , you have unlimited downloads (or limited) to DRM-free content . Its a win-win situation ,for both parties – consumer and the music industry.
What if the the law is imposed ? – Trust me , Malaysians aren’t dumb (if we can have a world-class hacker hacking into US federal reserve)  . A lot of BitTorrent clients do have encryption on them , plus a number of trackers do use HTTPS or some sort of security which makes it harder for ISPs to track down. Plus not to mention social media would make a big buzz out of it , highlighting the issue on how to circumvent it. Apart from that there is VPN or online torrent hosting service which makes it even harder to curb the entire issue. Malaysians will find a loophole and exploit it to the maximum. ISPs and recording indstury  are still going to be on the losing end.  There will be always a way to circumvent any sort of measure , its just matter of time.
Whats the solution – My best bet is for the authorities to have a meeting with some Internet-savvy users to get their feedback on how this problem should be resolved. Like I’ve mentioned earlier , an online music portal which encompasses a large collection would be the best bet with monthly reasonable fees which is billed together with the ISP bill. If you’ve a better idea , feel free to write a comment. On the other hand you may help to spread the news and to get peoples attention by tweeting or writing it in your blog. I am quite sure that if a lot of us do express our views , it will be taken into account/consideration. DO NOT EVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA !
You may also may want to read
malaysia-three-strikes-isp-liability (Blogjunkie)

No more illegal downloads? at Daily Chilli
Pirated DVD buyers let off
I would like to extend my gratitude to my fellow tweeter buddies who have helped me in writing this post. You know who you are ! Cheers

9 thoughts to “Say Hello to ISP Liability act”

  1. Totally agree with your thoughts on this. If they want to introduce a pay per use BB, then say so. Don’t force us to pay RM88 for a 1mpbs package and get less than 20% of the advertised speed!

  2. Here are my 2 cents on this issue:
    1. In Korea, there is a subscription based unlimited download of all media contents at one single fee and it’s dirt cheap. Mind you that Korea is a high income country.
    In Malaysia, even watching Astro, downloading songs with DRM be it the Nokia’s Comes With Music program, and buying movies/TV Shows in Speedy, you are paying a higher cost in comparison to Korea’s 1 point single download.
    Comparing cost to cost, basically Malaysian are paying much more for lesser service.
    2. Even nowadays I walk into stores, they are in fact selling ‘pirated’ animes but are given ‘tulen’ stickers. Original animes does not have fansub. So, if you want to buy original, you have to purchase from either yesasia or any online stores that ships worldwide. We are indirectly buying pirated at a premium price. Yes, no joke that those stores which sell ‘original’ are selling ‘pirated tulen’ animes at original price.
    3. If they were to implement such thing, the next thing which will happen is VPN business gonna bloom and still RIM will be at the losing end.

  3. I don’t know why they lobby this act, and making all the news about it, I mean, it is good to have to show the WIPO, but it is too soon, as you point out, we don’t have
    1. iTunes, although we have a Hypptunes , DiGi Music, Nokia Comes With Music
    2. Hulu, Netflix and etc.
    Crap, even I remember when there is lack of broadband, we once had ‘Pirated’ software all over the place (XP time), heck the (software) “consultant” even boasted that they are doing us a favour community service, for the ICT thing. So if they get as much of people get hold of the software, they can make people ICT
    Now, are we going to go back to this community service, what are we going to done? Watching movie are like entertainment, beside having a enjoyed minded Rakyat, I can’t think anything like that
    By the way, how they are going to earn money from this act? I reckon, it does make a few jobs/soul and company for DPI tech, other than that, don’t know lah
    P/S: Rapidshare seen the future heh, now they having HTTPS direct download, lmoa

  4. My problem:
    Giving the ability for ISP to do that, this also means that ISP can see what you are doing. For good or for bad.
    A lot of people dont aware of this. Big brother is watching you. (streamyx will be the big brother if this law approved), or they already had been watching you the whole time 😀
    So if this did happened, yes, here come VPN and completely encrypted network.

  5. Well im from Mexico and over here we do get the same problems with ISPs Download Speeds /Upload is a joke and Super High costs at almost 250% the original cost of a movie or game etc.
    We have a monopoly of the richest or maybe second richest man in the world Carlos Slim who owns Telmex and others. We have no other Phone company to compete with them on DSL, at least not now since all of them use either the same backbone or the same Fiberoptics or phone lines.
    And yes we live just a few Kms or blocks away from the USA but we still get the HIGH prices on importing something, i live in the border with Texas and people with Visas can go to the usa and buy stuff at their original prices, but on the mexican side we still need to pay for the doubled or triple prices that include taxes, and the worse part is that if i try to send something like a Movie or electronics by mail and it was not bought in a Mexican store we need to pay High taxes which make the effort to give a gift to non border mexican cities be too expensive.
    On the torrent side we cant go to demonoid directly since 2009, we need to use a web proxy or vpn from any other country to get there.
    On the other hand about a month ago we were going to get a similar law that was going to monitor and manage the websites we visit, and also bandwith we use, but then the senate did the right thing and nothing was approved… for now.
    You are not alone guys!

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