Amendments to Copyright Act aim to stop online piracy

Published: 4:03 AM, July 9, 2014

SINGAPORE — In a bid to curb online piracy and better protect intellectual property in the Republic, rights holders will now be able to apply to the courts for injunctions directing network service providers to block access to flagrantly infringing websites — without having to first establish their liability for copyright infringement.

Rights owners will have the right to be heard during a blocking order application and the receiving party will also have the right to appeal.

Under amendments to the Copyright Act passed in Parliament yesterday, website owners can also apply to revoke or vary the order, depending on how the website has been modified to the order.

Noting that stakeholders in the music industry have reported a decline in physical sales but have not been compensated by a “commensurate rise” in digital sales, Senior Minister of State (Law and Education) Indranee Rajah said: “The prevalence of online piracy in Singapore turns customers away from legitimate content and adversely affects Singapore’s creative sector.”

The Act was also amended to allow people with reading disabilities better access to copyrighted material. A broader category of institutions and persons, such as individuals and caregivers, can now create copies of copyrighted material in accessible formats without requiring permission from the rights holder. Institutions such as the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Lighthouse School are also allowed to export such copies for international distribution. Such materials include sound recordings and literary and dramatic works.