There are various exceptions and defences to copyright infringement under Singapore’s copyright law. The more commonly applicable exceptions in situations involving creation and online distribution of digital content are described briefly below.
One important exception is “fair dealing”. This means that you can use copyright-protected content without consent as long as it is a situation of “fair dealing”, as determined by the Court. The Court will consider the following factors in deciding if your use of the work is considered “fair dealing”:
- The purpose and character of your use (e.g. commercial or non-profit educational purposes)
- The nature of the work
- The amount and substantiality of the part that was copied in relation to the whole work
- The effect of your use on the potential market for, or value of, the work
- The possibility of obtaining the work within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.
In other cases, fair dealings for the purpose of criticism, review, or reporting current events do not constitute copyright infringement. In most of these cases, a sufficient acknowledgement of the work is still required.
Specific Education Exceptions
In addition, if your use of copyright materials is for educational purposes, other than the fair dealing exception, there may also be specific education-related exceptions that may be applicable. For more details, please refer to our Copyright Infosheet for Educators.