Singapore Says 3 Strikes Is Too Intrusive For Copyright Reform, So Goes With SOPA-Style Censorship Instead
from the say-what-now? dept
- Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
- Singapore proposes law to block sites such as Pirate Bay
Under the proposed legislative changes, rights holders will also be allowed to apply directly to the Courts for injunctions to prevent access to pirate sites without having to first establish ISPs’ liability for copyright infringement. This judicial process is more efficient and avoids implicating the ISPs unnecessarily.So, just as in SOPA, the idea is that rightsholders can suddenly declare that certain sites are "rogue" and courts can agree to wipe them off the face of the internet, by ordering ISPs to block access to them. The Singaporean government insists this won't be a problem for legitimate sites, because it seems to have bought into the Hollywood fallacy that what is a "legitimate" site and what is a "pirate" site are somehow obvious, rather than a spectrum in which nearly everything is some form of gray.
This is targeted at websites that show a blatant disregard for, and that clearly infringe, copyrights. Legitimate search engines and content sharing sites such as Google and YouTube will not be affected.Notice how they just blithely insist that YouTube is legitimate. That may well be news to YouTube's lawyers, who just concluded (via settlement) a seven-year battle in which Viacom literally insisted that YouTube was the equivalent of a video Grokster (the file sharing service that lost its court case for enabling infringement). And that's where the real problem is. It's easy to claim that it's obvious when a site is legitimate and when it's not, but reality doesn't work that way. For years, many people were pretty sure that Napster was perfectly legitimate under the rules of the Sony Betamax ruling, but then a court decided otherwise. Similarly, many assumed that YouTube was illegal, until that case settled. Hell, even the VCR was a "pirate tool" until the Supreme Court ended that argument thirty years ago.
And, of course pretty much all of modern entertainment history is filled with similar examples of new innovations in the delivery and consumption of content that are at first deemed illegal, until suddenly they're not. The player piano, the phonograph machine, radio, television, cable television, the photocopier, the DVR, the VCR, the mp3 player, and many other innovations were first decried as "pirate" technologies. And then they weren't. But with the Singaporean government insisting that it's somehow obvious which ones are legitimate and which ones are not, Singapore is almost guaranteeing that important legitimate innovations that help move the industry forward will, instead, get censored and blocked across the entire country.
That's no way to present yourself as an innovative country.
So, yes, later in the document, they reject three strikes (and administrative, rather than judicial, blocking) as too draconian and intrusive:
Countries like Spain and Malaysia have implemented an administrative site-blocking approach where rights holders can apply for site-blocking orders from a Government-appointed body. Countries like France have introduced a “graduated response” system where individual internet users are notified of their infringing activity by the ISP, and can be penalised if they continue their infringing activity despite repeated notifications (or “warnings”).But, in many ways, the alternative "solution" that Singapore appears to be supporting is worse than three strikes. It's outright censorship against innovation, based on a faulty belief that it will be immediately obvious whether or not new innovations and technologies are "legitimate" or "pirates."
We considered the alternatives above but assessed that they may not be suitable in Singapore’s context as they are too intrusive on internet users.