Singapore copyright law changes come into force

On November 21, 2021, Singapore’s amended Copyright Law came into force (Amended law). Important updates have been made to the current Copyright Law in order to improve copyright protection in view of various technological developments. We’ve outlined some of the main changes to consider.

  1. The copyright for all types of works created to order will belong to the creator

Copyrights for all types of works (including portraits, photographs, prints, sound recordings and films) will belong by default to the creators of commissioned works.

The default position can still be changed by a written contract. This means that the parties can always reverse the default statutory position in a contract. The parties should take note of this change when negotiating the engagement of the artist.

  1. Creators and performers have the right to be identified whenever their works or performances are used in public

Anyone who uses the work of a creator or performer in public must identify the creator or performer. Use of the work in public includes sharing online, posting, performing or using the work in corporate documents.

The identification must be clear and reasonably visible and in such a way that the creator / performer has made it known that he / she wishes to be identified (for example by his / her real name or pseudonym).

This is the default position, unless otherwise agreed.

  1. Prohibit the sale of devices and services used to access copyright infringing works

It is now an offense to make devices or services (eg set-top boxes or software applications) available, which allow access to copyright infringing material, for sale. The copyright owner can also sue anyone who markets such devices or services.

  1. The owners of copyrights in sound recordings may collect royalties for the public distribution of the recording.

The amended law introduces a new right for copyright owners of sound recordings to collect royalties for the public performance of their sound recordings. Fees may be collected by collective management organizations.

Companies that intend to publicly release sound recordings (e.g. restaurants, retail stores) must pay license fees for the public release of sound recordings in addition to license fees for public performance. of the underlying music.

  1. Modification of the “Fair Dealing” exception to “Fair Use”

The “fair use” exception is now called “fair use”. It is no longer compulsory to consider the possibility of obtaining the work within a reasonable period of time at the ordinary commercial price.

  1. New exception for uses of works for computer data analysis

New exception for “computer data analysis” which includes the use of a computer program to identify, extract and analyze information or data from the work or the use of the work as an example of a type information or data to improve the operation of a computer program.

The conditions for using the exception are as follows:

  • A copy of the work is used for computer data analysis purposes or to prepare the work or recording for computer data analysis
  • Work is not used for other purposes
  • The work is not provided to anyone other than for the purpose of verifying the results of computer data analysis or research or study of the results
  • Access to the work has been obtained legally
  • The copy of the work obtained is not an infringing copy. If the copy of the work is a counterfeit copy, the user does not know or could not reasonably have known that the work is a counterfeit copy.
  1. Some exceptions cannot be restricted by contract

The list of exceptions that cannot be restricted in contracts is expanded to include:

  • New Computer Data Analysis Uses Exception
  • Use of the work in legal proceedings or for legal advice
  • Functions of galleries, libraries, archives, museums.

Other changes to note

  • New authorized use of online materials for educational purposes by non-profit schools
  • Expiration date for the protection of unpublished works
  • Facilitate the work of galleries, libraries, archives and museums
  • Adjust existing provisions for users who are blind, visually impaired or unable to read print
  • Documents held by government or public bodies that are provided to the public may be copied and made available without infringing copyright when used in the public interest.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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