11 Jan – The National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) takes seriously the issue of illegal recordings, which is categorised as digital piracy, following the controversy relating to social media influencer Ameera Khan.
FINAS CEO, Prof Dr Md Nasir Ibrahim stated that cinema owners and film exhibitors have the right to take stern action against anybody for doing such a thing.
"I have two views on this issue. If the celebrity involved is an actor in a shot of a film and gets permission from the producer, this can be considered as a promotion and there is no legal issue," he said to Berita Harian. "On the other hand, if a celebrity uses an audio-visual recorder in the screening room to record any film in whole or in part without the permission of the producer, then the celebrity is committing an offense."
Cinemas can impose actions under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) involving Act 322, Anti-Camera Recording VIA Division.
"According to Article 43A, if convicted, the individual can be fined not less than RM10,000 and not more than RM100,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding five years or both," he said.
Other relevant laws, said Dr Nasir, include Section 41 of the Copyright Act 1987; Section 232 (B) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and Section 239 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
"In this case, FINAS has no legal authority to take action against any celebrity who commits the aforementioned offences. FINAS rules only apply to exhibition (cinema screening) licensees only," he explained. "However, as the Piracy Committee and the Technical Committee deal with pirated content, FINAS may assist the KPDNHEP agency and the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)."
However, Dr Nasir stated that it all depends on the owner of the said film, whether they would be willing to take action or otherwise. At the same time, he stressed that people need to realise the seriousness of the matter.
"It has been announced many times through both mass media and social media as a reminder to all parties. However, there are still those who are indifferent about it. Sometimes the mistakes we make are missed because there are no complaints. But if there are parties who complain and the owners of the film or drama find out about the matter, they may be prosecuted," he added.
Ameera, sister of actress-turned-entrepreneur Neelofa recently sparked anger among netizens after she decided to snap some scenes from the new movie "House of Gucci" and put it on Instagram Story. She was among the few influencers who were invited to a special screening of the film, which will only be released in Malaysia on 13 January 2022.