The EWO is periodically reviewed to account for the fast pace of technological change and the impact it has on determining whether circumventing TPMs would be considered legitimate in a given situation. With the current EWO due to expire on 31 December 2020, this Public Consultation is intended to determine new possible situations where TPM circumvention should be permissible, and to review the relevance and scope of existing exceptions.
Given that the EWO is intended to strike a fair balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of third parties to access works, firms may do well to participate in this round of Public Consultations and submit feedback by 2 October 2020 to ensure that their concerns will be taken into consideration and be potentially reflected in future reform.
In more detail
From 7 September to 2 October 2020, the Ministry of Law ("MinLaw") and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) are seeking views on the situations where users should be permitted to circumvent technological protection measures (TPMs) for legitimate uses of copyright works under the Copyright (Excluded Works) Order (EWO), and whether the current exceptions under the EWO 2017 should still be retained.
TPMs are technologies or devices intended to restrict the access or use of copyright works. While there is a general prohibition under the Copyright Act (CA) to restrict users from circumventing TPMs, the EWO lists a series of exceptions where circumvention is legitimate and will not constitute copyright infringement.
In their Public Consultation paper, the MinLaw and IPOS have included a list of proposals for existing exceptions under the EWO. Broadly, MinLaw and IPOS wish to seek feedback on whether it is desirable to retain, expand or limit the circumvention of TPMs:
- to allow the ordinary use of software
- to enable the operation of read-aloud functionality, or the use of any specialised assistive device or computer software
- when required to produce compilations of audiovisual works for educational purposes
- when required to produce compilations of audiovisual works for criticism or review, news reporting, or in the making of a documentary
- for the purposes of bona fide cybersecurity research
- when necessary to enable the replacement or repair of computer programs used in an essential or emergency system
The full details on the EWO consultation may be found here. Parties wishing to provide feedback on the EWO may also do so here.
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