Raise public awareness of copyright laws

Raise public awareness of copyright laws

The response by the Recording Industry Performance Singapore ("Bring copyright laws in line with global norms"; last Saturday) to Dr Edmund Lam's letter ("Tune in to copyright protection"; March 25) highlights some of the difficulties copyright holders face in the age of digitalisation of musical works.

Indeed, the international community has attempted to counter these problems by enacting or amending laws to regulate the downloading, streaming and cloud-based dissemination of such works.

However, history has shown that the progress of the Internet and Web-based activities far outpaces parliamentary action.

Apart from legislative action, it would be timely to raise public awareness of copyright laws. This can be carried out by bodies such as the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and the IP Academy.

This is important to the public for several reasons.

First, businesses that play ambient background music need to know the extent of their rights.

Second, with the pervasiveness of online downloading and streaming, Internet users should be brought up to date on the rights they possess and the risks of liability.

Finally, as Singapore looks to sign more international treaties, our domestic laws, including those related to copyrights, will be affected and changed. Therefore, it is necessary for the public to be aware of the lasting impact of these developments.

The aim of copyright has long been to protect creative output. It is not the time to discourage creativity.

Bruno Poh Teck Boon

This article was published on April 9 in The Straits Times.

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