As I read Wednesday's report ("US firm seeks damages from illegal downloaders here"), I was concerned that this would lead to a litigious culture in Singapore.
Illegal downloading should be stopped. However, this can be better done through education and controls implemented at the source, not by threatening legal action.
Perhaps more can be done to educate and to incentivise the legitimate purchasing of intellectual property, just like how Microsoft enticed people to legally own its new operating system by offering an offer for a limited time period.
It is also very worrying that personal details, such as names, addresses and identity card numbers, were handed over to a third party for a civil suit. Even with the Personal Data Protection Act, it seems that one's private information is too easily obtainable by private entities.
I would not be upset if the police demanded these details from the Internet service providers, but to have this legally obtained by a third party is scary. What will happen to the information, and who has authorised its usage?
Shouldn't action against the breaking of laws be pursued by the authorities, and not through threatening private legal action?
Singapore needs to improve the protection of intellectual property, but not by creating a litigious culture here. Let us do so in a culturally and economically acceptable, yet non-confrontational, manner.
This article was first published on April 11, 2015.
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