SINGAPORE: StarHub will offer two years of free rental of its StarHub TV+ box worth S$120 to customers who turn in their old pirate set-top boxes, the company said on Friday (Jul 23).
The initiative will “encourage the move towards legitimate content sources ahead of time”, said StarHub, as Singapore moves to clamp down on the sale of pirate set-top boxes.
Under the Copyright Bill that was tabled in Parliament earlier this month, it would be illegal to sell set-top boxes that offer access to pirated content if the proposed amendments are passed.
“Starting tomorrow (Saturday), StarHub will grant a total of S$120 to each customer willing to part ways with pirate set-top boxes that may not be in compliance with the proposed amendments to Singapore’s Copyright Act,” StarHub said in a media release.
“In exchange, customers will get free two-year rental of StarHub TV+ box, a plug-and-play Android TV-based media player which offers one-screen-for-all cinematic viewing experience with Ultra HD 4K support and fast Wi-Fi connectivity.”
Customers can drop off their pirate set-top boxes for a “free and safe disposal” at selected StarHub shops before signing up for StarHub TV+, which costs S$30 a month.
StarHub TV+ subscribers can switch between streaming services, including Netflix and Disney+, and live TV.
StarHub said it has teamed up with a “reputable e-waste recycler” to ensure that the discarded set-top boxes are destroyed and disposed of in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Customers can drop off their pirate set-top boxes at eight StarHub shops between Jul 24 and Aug 31, including outlets at Plaza Singapura, Tampines Mall and Jurong Point.
“Customers are encouraged to make an appointment through the My StarHub app prior to visiting their preferred StarHub shop,” the company said.
Under the proposals as part of the Copyright Bill, those convicted of selling pirate set-top boxes could face fines of up to S$100,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
“To encourage consumption of copyright works from legitimate sources, rights-owners may sue anyone who knowingly engages in commercial dealings with devices or services which have the commercially significant purpose of facilitating access to copyright infringing works,” the Ministry of Law said in its summary of key changes in the Bill.
In a landmark case in 2019, a retailer charged under the Copyright Act for selling Android streaming boxes was fined S$1,200 after pleading guilty to one charge of wilfully infringing on the copyright of rights owners for commercial gain, while another charge was taken into consideration.
It was the first time a seller of Android TV boxes had been prosecuted in Singapore.