Amendments to the Copyright Act
07 JUL 2014
7 Jul 2014 Posted in Press releases
Strengthening Singapore’s Intellectual Property Regime
- The Copyright (Amendment) Bill was submitted today for its Second Reading in Parliament. The Bill seeks to achieve two objectives; first, to enable greater access to copyrighted works for people with reading disabilities; and second, to provide a more effective means for rights holders to protect their copyright online. Full details of the proposed amendments can be found in Annex A (0.16MB).
Increased Access for the Reading Disabled
- The Marrakesh Treaty is aimed at facilitating access to copyrighted works for persons with reading disabilities. It allows copyrighted works to be produced in any format which makes the works more accessible. Singapore supports this Treaty and the Copyright Act is being amended to implement the provisions of the Treaty.
- The key amendments allow for:
- Persons with reading disabilities to reproduce copyrighted material in any format which enables them to access the material;
- Artistic works, sound recordings and broadcasts, in addition to literary and dramatic works, to be converted into formats accessible to persons with reading disabilities; and
- Institutions assisting persons with reading disabilities, as well as educational institutions, to distribute, import and produce for the purpose of export, such copies of copyrighted works.
- Through these amendments, institutions such the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Lighthouse School will face fewer obstacles when producing or sourcing for copyrighted materials in formats accessible to those with reading disabilities. It also gives the community much needed access to works from overseas institutions such as the Royal Blind in the UK and the National Federation of the Blind in the US.
- Singapore will be signing and ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty by the end of 2014.
Combating Online Piracy
- The second aspect of the Bill aims to enable rights holders to protect their rights more effectively against pirate websites through a new judicial measure. The proposed amendments to the Copyright Act take reference from the Media Convergence Review Panel’s recommendations made in 2012.
- Under the current Act, rights holders can issue a “take-down” notice to a network service provider (“NSP”) or internet service provider (“ISP”) to request that it disables access to or removes copyright infringing material from its network. If the ISP does not respond to the take-down notice, the rights holder would need to sue the ISP and establish the ISP’s liability for copyright infringement before an injunction may be obtained requiring the ISP to disable access to or remove the material from its network.
- The proposed amendments will provide rights holders with an avenue to apply directly to the Courts for injunctions disabling access to flagrantly infringing sites, without having to sue ISPs and establish their liability for copyright infringement.
- The targeted approach ensures that only websites which blatantly infringe copyright are affected. A non-exhaustive list of factors will guide the Courts’ consideration in determining what constitutes such flagrant infringement. These factors include whether the online location’s primary function is to commit or facilitate copyright infringement; and whether the owner of the online location demonstrates a disregard for copyright.
- Sites that offer primarily legitimate content and business services such as cloud storage services, search engines and social media sites will not be affected. Please refer to Annex B (0.11MB) for an illustration of how the judicial process is expected to take place.
- The judicial process is expected to be more efficient, enabling rights holders to obtain injunctions with greater speed and certainty. The interests of ISPs and online location owners will also be protected through statutory requirements and procedural safeguards.
- The Ministry of Law consulted extensively with stakeholders such as the Motion Picture Authority (MPA), Recording Industry Association of Singapore (RIAS), Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS), StarHub and SingTel, prior to drafting the amendments. A public consultation was also held from 7 April to 21 April 2014 and some of the inputs have been incorporated into the amendments. The consolidated responses to the feedback received can be viewed on the Ministry of Law’s website.
Last updated on 09 Jul 2014