To ask the Minister for Law (a) what are the Ministry’s plans and time frame to implement recommendations from the Media Convergence Review to address Singapore’s copyright and digital piracy challenges; (b) what is the Government’s position on (i) enhancing public education on online piracy (ii) the provision of more legitimate content sources and (iii) introducing site blocking as part of regulatory measures; and (c) whether a more robust legal framework is necessary to protect the creative sector and its rights owners.
Changing social norms and technological developments require us to review our approach to copyright protection. The Government agrees with the Media Convergence Review Panel that the problem of online piracy has to be addressed through a multi-pronged approach comprising (a) public education, (b) the promotion of legitimate digital content services, and (c) appropriate regulatory measures.
Public education to address online piracy
Consumer understanding of and respect for copyright is a key factor in combating online piracy. IPOS has been putting emphasis on public education to cultivate an IP-savvy and respecting population, through its flagship outreach initiative, the Honour Intellectual Property (HIP) Alliance. Recent initiatives include a Facebook Connect video application to engage the online community and an outreach to 150 primary schools using an interactive skit to introduce students to the concept of honouring intellectual property from an early age. The annual World IP Day 2013 event, meant to heighten the public awareness and respect for IP, was well-attended by more than 1,000 members of the public. These outreach activities are complemented by the IP Academy’s training courses on copyright for students and professionals in relation to the online environment.
Provision of legitimate content sources
Making legal content available to consumers through a convenient platform and at a reasonable price can reduce demand for infringing alternatives. Content owners have recognised this and have been exploring new content delivery models via the internet or through mobile devices to allow access to content anytime anywhere. Local broadcasters have also been improving their content delivery models and launching various digital content services recently. For instance, MediaCorp launched “Toggle” in February 2013 so that consumers can access and enjoy MediaCorp’s Free-To-Air TV content anytime anywhere.
The Ministry of Law and other agencies are currently deliberating the role of site blocking as a measure to help counter the ease of accessing copyright infringing material online. How we do this will need to be carefully considered. We are finalising our review and will be consulting the industry and public on the appropriate approach to site blocking in the coming months.
Protecting the creative sector and its rights owners
A sound and pro-business copyright framework requires the protection of the rights of rights owners as well as the legitimate market access by consumers. Both objectives are crucial to a vibrant creative industry. We are reviewing our Copyright Act to ensure that our laws keep up with emerging technologies and social norms.