Govt may block websites to fight piracy

Govt may block websites to fight piracy

SINGAPOREANS who download pirated movies and music from certain websites could soon find it difficult to do so, as the Government is considering blocking some of them.

The Law Ministry is discussing such a possibility with other agencies, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Monday.

But before any implementation is done, the industry and the public will be consulted on the appropriate way to do it, she added.

Ms Indranee announced the likely move in Parliament when replying to Nominated MP Janice Koh on measures to stop digital piracy.

One reason for looking at site-blocking as a measure to help counter the ease of accessing copyright-infringing material online is that it is simple to administer, she said.

Also, it targets the law-breaking sites rather than users, she added.

But how it might be implemented will be "carefully considered", and there will be a public consultation in the coming months.

Site-blocking was one of several anti-piracy proposals made by the Government-convened Media Convergence Review Panel (MCRP) last year.

However, it is not a silver bullet that provides a "100 per cent solution" to the problem, said Ms Indranee.

So the Government will take a multi-pronged approach, which includes more public education, regulations and ensuring legitimate content is available at a reasonable price.

But initial findings show that site-blocking can restrict access to pirated content, said the Senior Minister of State, citing an International Federation of the Phonographic Industry report.

It says that within a year of five European countries restricting users' access to the website Pirate Bay, traffic to the site dropped by 69 per cent.

Pirate Bay is popular among users who upload and download pirated versions of television shows, movies and music.

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