IPA considering implications of Singaporean copyright review

Singapore’s Ministry of Law and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) have announced a comprehensive review of the city state’s copyright laws, inviting comments until 24 October.

The review, announced at Singapore’s IP Week 2016 by Senior Minister of State Ms Indranee Rajah, centres on a list of proposals (below) including a number that imply the intention to dilute the country’s copyright regime by broadening exceptions and limitations.

According to the Ministry of Law’s announcement, the review has ‘the objectives of ensuring that it has rights which are reasonable, clear and capable of being efficiently transacted’.

Singaporean copyright law already contains a US-style open-ended ‘fair use’ exception, but the 16 proposals in the public consultation paper include ‘strengthening the “fair use” exception’, ‘facilitating educational uses’ and ‘facilitating the work of libraries and archives’.

The IPA is currently scrutinizing the detailed breakdown of the proposals, and may submit a considered analysis of their potential implications to Singapore’s Ministry of Law in the coming weeks. We also encourage other members of the IPA to make submissions on the consultation paper. Please let us know if you do make a submission and send us a copy of your draft.

IPA Secretary General José Borghino said: ‘As in Canada and Australia, it seems that Singapore’s IP authorities are looking to broaden copyright exceptions thereby further threatening publishers’ business models. Singapore is a great regional innovator, occupying sixth position on WIPO’s recently published Global Innovation Index 2015 and as such it has a highly strategic vantage point in the global conversation about copyright and IP. Our job is to make sure the voice of world publishers is clearly heard in that conversation and to provide balance, especially when we’re seeing ill-considered changes to copyright becoming a global trend.’

Proposals

1. Establishing a voluntary copyright registration system
2. Granting creators default ownership of certain commissioned works
3. Setting an expiry date for protection of unpublished works
4. Attributing creators whenever their works are used
5. Providing information to help the creator-publisher/producer relationship
6. Protecting certain exceptions from being restricted by contracts
7. Strengthening the general “fair use” exception
8. Enabling the use of orphan works
9. Unlocking the potential of text and data mining
10. Facilitating educational uses by non-profit educational institutions
11. Facilitating the work of libraries and archives
12. Facilitating the work of museums and galleries
13. Adjusting existing provisions for print-disabled users
14. Allowing the use of non-patent literature in patent search and examination work
15. Increasing the availability of materials on official government registers
16. Updating the list of allowable circumventions of technological protection measures

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