Pirate sites could be blocked in the future with proposed changes to Copyright Act

Pirate sites could be blocked in the future with proposed changes to Copyright Act
Websites that mainly offer pirated content, which could include The Pirate Bay, might be blocked by all Internet service providers here in the future.

Websites that mainly offer pirated content - which could include well-known file-sharing site The Pirate Bay - might be blocked by all Internet service providers here in the future.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here is the full statement from the Ministry of Law regarding its Public Consultation on the Proposed Amendments to the Copyright Act:

Ministry of Law ("MinLaw") is launching a public consultation today on proposed amendments to the Copyright Act. The proposed amendments take reference from the recommendations made by the Media Convergence Review Panel in 2012, and aim to enable content rights holders to protect their rights more effectively against pirate websites through judicial measures.

Current system

Under the current Copyright 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 ISPs do not respond to a take-down notice, rights holders will need to sue them for copyright infringement and seek an injunction against ISPs to disable access to or remove the copyright infringing material from their network.

Proposed amendments

The changes, if implemented, would also permit rights holders to apply directly to the Courts for injunctions to prevent access to sites that clearly and blatantly infringe copyright, without having to sue ISPs. This judicial process is expected to be more efficient and avoids implicating the ISPs unnecessarily.

In addition, the proposal suggests having a non-exhaustive list of factors to help define what constitutes egregious websites. An example of such a factor would be whether the on-line location's primary function is to commit or facilitate copyright infringement or whether the owner of the on-line location demonstrates a disregard for copyright.

All applications for injunctions must be made by rights holders or their exclusive licensees, and then reviewed by the Courts.

Alternative approaches in other countries

Spain and Malaysia have implemented an administrative site-blocking approach where rights holders can apply for site-blocking orders from a Government-appointed body. France has introduced a "graduated response" system where individual internet users are notified of their infringing activity by the ISP, and can be penalised if they continue their infringing activity despite repeated notifications.

The Government considered these possible alternative measures, but decided against them because they are too intrusive on internet users.

Invitation for feedback

Interested parties may view the draft Bill and submit feedback in electronic or hard copy form via details provided at http://www.mlaw.gov.sg/content/minlaw/en/news/public-consultations.html. The public consultation closes on Monday, 21 April 2014.

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