MinLaw and IPOS Seek Feedback On Situations Where Circumventions of Technological Protection Measures Are Allowed
1. The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) today launched a public consultation to seek feedback on the exceptions to be included in the Copyright (Excluded Works) Order (“EWO”), including whether the current exceptions in the EWO 2017 are still relevant and should be retained for the EWO.
2. The public consultation will run for 4 weeks, ending on 2 October 2020. This is part of a periodic review of the EWO, that is conducted once every four years to take into account the fast pace of technological change.
Copyright (Excluded Works) Order
3. The EWO specifies the situations in which users are permitted to circumvent technological protection measures (“TPMs”) for legitimate use of copyrighted works. TPMs are technologies or devices which are intended to restrict the access or use of copyrighted works. They often prevent copyright infringement, for example, by preventing users from making unauthorised copies of a movie. The Copyright Act (“CA”) prohibits users from circumventing TPMs or from selling products and services to allow others to do so.
4. However, in practice, TPMs may unintentionally restrict legitimate and non-infringing acts. For instance, when a TPM prevents the use of assistive technologies by users with print disabilities. Thus, there is a list of exceptions in the CA for specific situations where circumventions of TPMs are allowed. Some of these exceptions are temporary in nature as they apply only to works, other subject-matter or performances (or classes thereof) specified in the EWO.
5. The EWO is therefore periodically reviewed to take into account the fast pace of technological change.
6. The current EWO 2017 will expire on 31 Dec 2020. MinLaw and IPOS would like to seek feedback on the exceptions to include in the next EWO, including whether the current exceptions in the EWO 2017 are still relevant and should be retained for the next EWO.
7. In particular, the public consultation seeks to gather feedback from creators, users of copyrighted works and the general public on whether the exceptions in the EWO 2017 should be retained, expanded, or limited. These exceptions allow the following uses of copyrighted works:
(i) Continued use of software reliant on obsolete systems
(ii) Read-aloud and assistive functionality for digital e-books
(iii) Use of short clips from films or shows for educational purposes
(iv) Use of short clips from films or shows for criticism or commentary
(v) Investigating and fixing cybersecurity flaws
(vi) Replacement or repair of essential or emergency system software
8. MinLaw and IPOS also welcome feedback on whether additional exceptions in the EWO are necessary to enable legitimate uses of copyrighted works.
9. The full public consultation paper may be viewed online at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/news/Public-Consultation-on-Copyright-Excluded-Works-Order2020.
Invitation for feedback
10. Members of the public are invited to submit their views by 2 October 2020. They may submit feedback via FormSG at https://go.gov.sg/ewo-consult2020, email or in hard copy, with the subject or header “2020 Public Consultation on the Copyright (Excluded Works) Order” to either or both of the following:
Intellectual Property Policy Division, Ministry of Law
100 High Street, #08-02, The Treasury
MINISTRY OF LAW
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE OF SINGAPORE
7 SEPTEMBER 2020
DID: +65 6332 8828