Yes, it is 100% legal to own an Android TV box in Malaysia. In the news, you may hear that owning an Android TV box is illegal and people are being charged.
However, that is not complete the story, as those cases involve seller who sold media box aka TV boxes that stream pirated content.
To put it simply, owning an MCMC-certified Android box has no faults. By using it to stream pirated video content, you violate the law and infringe on copyright.
Consequently, such users might be prosecuted and penalized.
What happens if you are caught owning an Android box with illegal content?
If you use your Android box to stream illegal content, you may be liable under Section 239 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
For the unlawful use, possession or supply of non-standard equipment/device aka Android boxes, which carries a sentence of less than two years imprisonment, a fine not exceeding RM100,000.00 or both.Asklegal.my
In short, a person who owns an illegal Android box is likely to face very serious legal action. So, please invest a bit of time studying how to pick a TV box that is free from illegal third party TVapps.
What happens if you are caught selling Android boxes that stream pirated content?
Selling illegal Android boxes can easily result in five-figure fines and years of prison terms.
According to past records, in the year 2019, a company was fined RM15,000 and the directors, a married couple was fined RM10,000 each and for owning 79 units of non-certified Android TV boxes.
Then in February 2021, a company director who sold modded Long TV media boxes that streamed illegal content may be fined up to RM40,000 and sentenced to ten years of imprisonment
Similarly, on 19 February 2021, a woman who owned six illegal Android boxes was fined RM5,000 for each offence and would be sentenced to a month of imprisonment for each charge, should she fail to pay the fine. A total of RM30,000 in fines and possible imprisonment for 6 months
A Brief Chronology for The Ban of Illegal Android Box in Malaysia
4 February 2019 – Crackdown on unauthorised sites (Source: theStar)
Based on reports from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, MCMC has blocked access to 246 illegal content streaming sources that provide access to illegal streaming content
2 April 2019 – Couple charged with selling Android TV boxes (Source:theStar)
Chen Kai Yi, 39, and his wife, Yeak Wak Ying, 33, are both directors of LC Marketing Networking Media Sdn Bhd, the company was accused of selling illegal communication equipment, including Android Boxes, in the Sessions Court here today.
If found guilty, they face a fine up to RM100,000, or imprisonment for a period of up to six months, or both.
12 July 2019 – MCMC Takes Firm Action Against Owning and Selling Non-Certified Android TV Boxes (Source: MCMC)
At the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court earlier this week, LC Marketing Network Media Sdn Bhd was fined RM15,000 while two (2) of its directors – Chen Kaiyi, 34 and Yeak Wang Ying, 33 – were both fined RM10,000 each by Judge Mokhzani Mokhtar.
Both the directors pleaded guilty for owning 79 units of non-certified Android TV boxes of various models, with the intention to sell them at Digital Mall, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
14 Feb 2020 – MCMC warns certified Android TV box suppliers not to offer illegal streaming (Source: Malaymail)
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has issued a warning to all Android TV box suppliers not to misuse the SIRIM and MCMC labels.
It emphasised that certification for such media boxes does not cover applications that permit illegal streaming of copyright content.
10 Feb 2021- ‘Long TV’ box – company director pleads guilty to piracy charge (Source: FMT)
A company director has pleaded guilty to selling the “Long TV” Android box, a TV decoder and media centre which offers pirated television content. As a result of the charge, he may be subject to a fine of as much as RM40,000, and he can also face a jail term of up to 10 years.
16 Feb 2021 – Woman pleads guilty to owning six MyTV.apk media boxes (Source: theStar)
A 46-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a charge of owning 6 media boxes which can fraudulently stream Astro content through the MyTV.apk application.
Judge Muhamad Anas imposed a fine of RM5,000 for each charge and a month’s jail for each charge if she failed to pay the penalty.
That adds up to a total of RM30,000 fines with potential jail time of 6 months.
24 May 2021 – Astro lauds court’s declaration that sale of TV boxes constitutes copyright infringement (Source: theEdgeMarkets)
In a statement from Astro, the Intellectual Property High Court in Kuala Lumpur has declared that the sale and distribution of TV boxes or illicit streaming devices (ISDs) that can provide unauthorised access to copyrighted works constitutes a copyright infringement under the Copyright Act 1987.
You might be wondering if Android TV boxes have any benefits.
You do not have to worry, because there are many great Android TV apps that are worth installing, both free and paid.
Netflix, for instance, is much cheaper than Astro and is totally worth the money as it has thousands of shows and movies on it.