29 September 2020

From 7 September 2020 to 2 October 2020, the Ministry of Law (“MinLaw”) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) are seeking views on situations where users should be permitted to circumvent technological protection measures (“TPMs”) for the legitimate use of copyrighted works. TPMs include technologies, devices and the like which are akin to digital locks intended to restrict the access or use of copyrighted works.

The Copyright Act (“CA”) prohibits users from circumventing TPMs or from selling products and services to allow others to do so. However, as there may be situations in practice where TPMs restrict legitimate and non-infringing acts, there is a list of exceptions in the CA for certain situations where circumventions of TPMs are allowed. Some of the exceptions are of a temporary nature as they apply only to works, other subject-matters or performances (or classes thereof) specified in the Copyright (Excluded Works) Order (“EWO”). The EWO is periodically reviewed to take into account the fast pace of technological change.

As the current EWO 2017 will expire on 31 December 2020, MinLaw and IPOS are seeking feedback on exceptions that should be included in the next EWO. Views are also being sought on whether the existing exceptions in EWO 2017, which allow for the following uses of copyrighted works, are still relevant and should be retained, expanded or limited:

  • Continued use of software reliant on obsolete systems 
  • Read-aloud and assistive functionality for digital e-books
  • Use of short clips from films or shows for educational purposes
  • Use of short clips from films or shows for criticism or commentary
  • Investigating and fixing cybersecurity flaws
  • Replacement or repair of essential or emergency system software

Reference materials

The following materials can be found on the IPOS website www.ipos.gov.sg and MinLaw website www.mlaw.gov.sg: