The Singapore Ministry of Law has opened a public consultation on proposed changes to the Copyright Law in Singapore. As part of the consultation process, the Ministry of Law has held a series of meetings with members of the legal and business communities.
At the roundtable meeting with the Singapore American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) on 15 September 2016, there were about 40 AmCham members in attendance to speak with the Ministry of Law’s Director of Intellectual Property Policy Simon Seow and Senior Assistant Director Soh Lili. Generally, there were more questions than there were answers provided by Mr. Seow and Ms. Soh. With limited answers provided, AmCham members were encouraged to submit their questions and concerns through the consultation process.
For example, several questions related to the proposed establishment of a voluntary copyright registration system, similar to the system that is used in the U.S. However, in the U.S., copyright registration is also accompanied with certain legal benefits or presumptions. Mr. Seow and Ms. Soh were unable to say whether registration in Singapore would similarly come with resulting benefits. Without knowing the effect of copyright registration in Singapore, it will be difficult for members of the public to determine whether they are in favor of such a system. Presumably, there will be little support for a registration system with only costs and no equivalent benefit.
The following changes are being proposed:
- Establishing a voluntary copyright registration system
- Granting creators default ownership of certain commissioned works
- Setting an expiry date for protection of unpublished works
- Attributing creators whenever their works are used
- Providing information to help the creator-publisher/producer relationship
- Protecting certain exceptions from being restricted by contracts
- Strengthening the general “fair use” exception
- Enabling the use of orphan works
- Unlocking the potential of text and data mining
- Facilitating educational uses by non-profit educational institutions
- Facilitating the work of libraries and archives
- Facilitating the work of museums and galleries
- Adjusting existing provisions for print-disabled users
- Allowing the use of non-patent literature in patent search and examination work
- Increasing the availability of materials on official government registers
- Updating the list of allowable circumventions of technological protection measures
The consultation period is open until 24 October 2016. Feedback is welcome from anyone that would be affected by the changes, including creators, rights holders, and businesses.
The full consultation paper is available on the Ministry of Law website.