Copyright piracy today is largely driven by illegal streaming of television and video content. A key concern in the last few years has been tackling the sale of illegal streaming devices like physical boxes or USB sticks that plug into a TV. The boxes often come pre-loaded with illegal applications allowing ‘plug-and-play’ access to pirated content. The Illegal streaming devices are often referred to as ‘Kodi boxes’ or Android TV boxes. Kodi is in fact a software and a free and open-source media player that allows people to play and stream video content. These boxes run on a legitimate software which is why they are widely available.
In Indonesia, according to a recent survey conducted by YouGov, it was found that TV set-top boxes that can stream pirated video content are used by 29% of online viewers in Indonesia. This survey, commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), found that the IndoXXI Lite, LiveStream TV and LK 21 Reborn are the most popular illicit streaming devices (ISDs) in Indonesia. This impacts international subscription services which include pan-Asia online offerings as well. Of the 29% of consumers who purchased an ISD for free streaming, two in three (66%) cancelled all or part of their subscription to legal pay-TV service(s) in favour of ISD free streaming. The surge in popularity of ISDs occurs throughout SE Asia and beyond.
Many of these devices come with security threats. The content industry also cites concerns about malware. Security experts have warned how hackers can exploit these devices to infect consumers’ computers and other devices. But owing to the low cost of these boxes and availability of free content, the users, most of whom belong to the younger generation, are perhaps not concerned as much about issues of malware. However, the loss of subscription services and harm to businesses in the production and distribution of legitimate content is an economic problem and a major concern across the whole industry, both on a local and international level.