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Telegram Reportedly “Ready to Fight Piracy” According to Govt. Official

By , in Anti-Piracy LaLiga Malaysia Pavel Durov Telegram , at May 12, 2024

telegram -2-2024Following a rightsholder complaint about copyright infringement taking place on Telegram, a judge in Spain issued a controversial order for ISPs to block Telegram in its entirety, across the whole country.

As soon as the order was made public, nationwide and then international uproar led to the judge reconsidering whether the order really was a “necessary” and “proportional” response. After concluding that preventing around eight million Spaniards from accessing Telegram was probably a bit much after all, the decision was suspended.

While this is clearly a stand-out example, there’s something about the way Telegram conducts business, at times interpreted as a complete lack of interest, that frustrates courts, rightsholders, even some governments. Russia famously ordered the blocking of Telegram in 2018 but ended up blocking 1.8 million Google and Amazon IP addresses instead.

Telegram appeared unflustered throughout and emerged completely unscathed.

Frustrations at the Ministry of Communications

In its role as a harm prevention agency in Malaysia, the government’s Ministry of Communications (MCMC) regularly calls out user-generated content platforms and social media sites when it believes they need to do more to reign in bad behavior. Telegram in particular has received mounting criticism.

In 2020, MCMC said it was working closely with the Royal Malaysian Police and had even involved Interpol to tackle obscene images of citizens made available on Telegram. Then came alleged failures to tackle what the government described as a wave of fake news.

Last March, Minister Fahmi Fadzil, head of the Ministry for Communications and Digital (KKD), said his department would contact Telegram to discuss the problem of scammers undermining Malaysian citizens’ security. He said that although he appreciated that Telegram provided a useful service, utilized by Malaysia’s National Security Council, among others, something had to be done to clean up the platform.

“Telegram is indeed seen as a bit problematic, all kinds of information is entered there and there are also many scammer activities but at the same time, we know that it is a channel to convey information to the public,” he said.

“So the matter needs to be looked into and we will call Telegram to discuss helping the authorities to take appropriate action.”

Patience Running Out

Among the scam victims was a former Malaysian prime minister, so when Telegram failed to respond to an invitation to discuss solutions to the issues, which began at piracy and got worse from there, patience began to wear thin.

“Compared to other platforms, we do not see the seriousness of Telegram to cooperate. “I have asked the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to examine what appropriate actions need to be taken,” Fadzil said.

telegram-malaysiaWhat followed was a meeting between the minister and Telegram founder Pavel Durov in Dubai. Durov said he’d like Telegram to expand its Malaysia operations and the minister invited him to continue discussions in Malaysia.

In May 2023, progress appeared to be going in the wrong direction. Telegram was reportedly refusing to cooperate with the Ministry of Communications and Digital on the basis it did not wish to participate in any form of politically-related censorship.

Malaysia Warns of Action Against Telegram

In a statement issued in early June, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said it was still considering limited action against Telegram after the platform failed to cooperate.

“So if it is decided that cooperation from Telegram’s side is not very positive, then we will ensure that any action to be taken will not affect users too much,” the statement added.

Within days, communications with Telegram improved and since then, commentary from the government has been much more positive. This week Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil offered assurances that Telegram is now prepared to work with the government to curtail piracy on the platform.

Rampant Piracy Will Be Tackled

After a local director found his latest movie being made available on Telegram for free recently, once again piracy was pushed to the forefront of the Telegram controversy. However, this week Minister Fadzil said that Telegram is now ready to tackle the problem after several meetings in April.

“We see [piracy] happening on several platforms, especially Telegram. We received complaints, including from [local broadcaster] Astro, about pirated films that are distributed on the platform,” he told reporters.

“This requires the cooperation of the distributors, and copyright owners, as well as supervisory bodies like the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and I hope we can ensure other platforms will also fight digital piracy.

“Maybe people don’t quite understand the law in Malaysia, so the MCMC has held several discussions (with those involved) about the copyright issue. Hopefully this problem can be handled better soon,” he said.

With no obviously public comment from Telegram on the matter, it’s hard to say how the social platform views its end of what appears to be an informal agreement.

Telegram will be acutely aware, however, that whatever it gives, others will demand too. That may ultimately limit Telegram’s response, whatever it may be, whenever it arrives – if it even arrives at all.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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