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Copyright (Amendment) Bill

Changes At A Glance

New Right of Communication for works

New Rights for Producers of Sound Recordings

New Rights for Performers

Removal and alteration of rights management information

Technological Measures protecting Copyrighted Works

Stronger Enforcement Measures

Criminal Liability for wilful infringement of copyright


Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move “That the Bill be now read a second time.”

Mr Speaker Sir, Members of the House may recall that in June this year, four Bills were enacted to strengthen our intellectual property regime. At that time, I had informed the House that a further set of amendments to the Copyright Act would be proposed later in the year.
Sir, this Bill seeks to amend the Copyright Act to enhance and strengthen our copyright regime, particularly to ensure that our copyright laws remain relevant in an age of rapid technological development.
Major amendments to the Act were last made in 1999 to keep pace with the emerging popularity of the online environment and the growth of electronic commerce. Even then, I had said that the amendments would by no means be the last word on the subject.
Today, we all are aware of the rapid pace of technological advancement, particularly in the realm of digital technology. Singapore’s information communications technology (or ICT) environment has also correspondingly evolved.
In 1999, only 42% of Singapore households enjoyed home Internet access. This has since increased to 65%, almost two-thirds of all households. More households also have high speed access to the Internet – some 40% of households have broadband access now compared to only 3% in 1999.
The amendment in the Bill address the needs of both copyright owners and users in this new environment. The changes in the Bill will also further strengthen Singapore’s position as an attractive location for copyright-based activities. Several of the amendments in the Bill also relate to our obligations under the United States – Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
The proposed amendments Sir, are a result of a 2-year review of technological and international developments, and were finalised only after extensive consultations with the relevant stakeholders.
Since June 2003, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, IPOS, has chaired an IP Taskforce in order to obtain well-rounded feedback. The Taskforce comprises members from business associations such as the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, and the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, as well as government statutory boards such as the EDB and the Media Development Authority.
To complement the IP Taskforce, an inter-Ministry committee comprising the relevant government agencies was also set up to review the proposed amendments.
In proposing these amendments, we have sought to strike a good balance between the interests of copyright owners and those of the copyright users. We have taken into account legislation in other countries including that of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
We made available a consultation draft version of the Bill on IPOS’ website, and IPOS invited further feedback through a public seminar. We received useful feedback from several IP rights organisations, user groups, the Law Society and experts in IP law. All the feedback was carefully considered and modifications incorporated where relevant. The Government is also committed to extensive public awareness initiatives.
Let me first deal with the amendments related to enhancing the Copyright regime to meet the needs of copyright owners and users in the new digital environment.
The first group of amendments introduces several new rights, in recognition of changing business models in the digital realm.
New Rights
New Right of Communication for works
First, the new right of communication for works. Sir, the Internet is becoming an increasingly important platform through which copyright owners promote and disseminate their copyrighted works. Such digital dissemination of works has become the basis for businesses such as home-grown music distributor Soundbuzz.
The Bill introduces a new right to enable the copyright owner to control the communication of his work to the public.
This new communication right encompasses both the existing broadcasting and cable programme rights, and also the right to control the dissemination of works on the Internet. This new right will enable copyright owners or other entrepreneurs to fully leverage on the Internet platform as a means to disseminate copyrighted material.
New Rights for Producers of Sound Recordings
Next, new rights for producers of sound recordings. Likewise, Sir, Clause 20 provides, for producers of sound recordings, a new right to publish a sound recording, and the right to make available to the public a sound recording by means of, or as part of, a digital audio transmission.
These new rights will enable producers of sound recordings to control interactive transmissions of their recordings, and give them greater confidence in the protection of their IP in this medium.

Source: Ministry of Law Press Release 16 Nov 2004


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2 December 2004