Singapore: First Reading of the Copyright Bill

The Second Reading of the Bill will be in September 2021

In brief

On 6 July 2021, the Singapore parliament tabled the Copyright Bill for the First Reading. The Bill introduces key changes and is the first amendment of copyright legislation drafted since 2011.

The Copyright Bill has been tabled after a public consultation on the proposed Copyright Bill, which we have previously discussed in our earlier update, Singapore: Ministry of Law and IPOS seek public feedback on proposed Copyright Bill (23 March 2021), in which we summarized the key proposed changes.

The Second Reading of the Bill will be on the first available sitting in September 2021.

While there have been minimal changes to the Copyright Bill from the proposed Copyright Bill, there has been one salient change to the threshold to establishing liability for selling illicit streaming devices in breach of copyright. The threshold for this offence is detailed in this client update.


Contents

Key takeaways

The key changes introduced by the Copyright Bill have been discussed in our earlier update, Singapore: Ministry of Law and IPOS seek public feedback on proposed Copyright Bill (23 March 2021). In summary, the Copyright Bill introduces the following key changes:

  • Introduction of new rights and remedies for creators and performers.
  • New exceptions to copyright owners’ rights, known as 'permitted uses'.
  • A thematic structuring of provisions, with an aim to enhance the Copyright Act's clarity and accessibility.

Since its proposal, the Copyright Bill has introduced an amended threshold for the offence of selling illicit streaming devices that now covers situations where sellers sell 'empty' streaming devices (e.g., set-top boxes) without infringing apps or works for the buyer to install later.

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For further information and to discuss what this development might mean for you, please get in touch with your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

Threshold for offence of sale of illicit streaming devices amended

Previously under the proposed Copyright Bill, criminal liability was proposed to be imposed on persons who make or distribute devices that allow for the streaming of audio-visual content that provides access to a 'flagrantly infringing online location'.

This threshold has since been changed, and a person will be liable for an offence if they make or distribute devices that allow for access to copyright works where they have knowledge that the device or service is capable of facilitating access to copyright works without authorisation and has only a limited commercially significant purpose or use other than that capability.

This expansion will therefore cover situations where sellers sell 'empty' streaming devices (e.g., set-top boxes) without infringing apps or works for the buyer to install later, and is a welcome further protection for right-holders.

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