New legislation in Asia to protect copyright and act against piracy

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The prevalence of online piracy remains a huge threat to content rights holders globally, notwithstanding the increased volume of legitimate content available through Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services, said an article by law firm Baker McKenzie in the 2023 Asia Video Industry Report released by AVIA in November 2022.

Baker McKenzie went on to identify 2022 legislation in several Asian countries aimed at containing piracy and strengthening copyright enforcement efforts.

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These efforts include:

  • SINGAPORE: In response to feedback regarding the difficulty of using previous legislation to enforce their rights against sellers of hardware devices, software applications and services that facilitate access to unauthorised content, the Singapore Copyright Act 2021 now imposes civil and criminal liability on commercial dealers of such devices and services.
  • MALAYSIA: The Malaysia Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022, effective since 18 March 2022, has created new offenses for committing or facilitating copyright infringement, intentionally hiding evidence in relation a copyright offense, or knowingly giving false information, or sharing infringing access to online location of any works or copies of works online.
  • INDONESIA: The country has seen a significant 75% reduction in traffic to pirate sites as of January 2022 since site-blocking began in mid-2019. As of April 2022, more than 3,500 domain names have been added to the country blacklist
  • PHILIPPINES: The Philippines Intellectual Property Office, the National Telecommunications Commission and the country’s ISPs collaborate to block pirates in a streamlined fashion.
  • THAILAND: New regulation provides for a new takedown procedure (with certain exceptions) that allows copyright owners to use a takedown notice (instead of a Court order) to start the takedown process.
  • CHINA: China’s Third Amendment of Copyright Law (“Third Amendment”), effective since 1 June 2021, has increased the amount of statutory and punitive damages and fines awarded for copyright infringement
  • HONG KONG: If enacted, the Hong Kong Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 will introduce an exclusive technology-neutral communication right for copyright owners and criminal sanctions against infringement.

Full details are available in AVIA’s 2023 Asia Video Industry Report

Why it matters

“The rapid development of copyright laws across the region recognises the need for better and smarter regulations to guard against the misappropriation of content by bad actors,” said Andy Leck, Head of the Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Group for Baker McKenzie in Singapore.

“While the industry cannot solely depend on existing laws and regulations to catch up with rapidly evolving technology,
the increased amount of effective site-blocking in a number of countries and updated copyright laws across the region show a greater awareness of these issues among governments,”

“As technology continues to march forward and more content continues to be pirated before it is even released, an effective strategy to reduce theft and combat piracy in APAC can only be achieved through consistent enforcement, disruption and consumer education and outreach,” said Mr. Leck.

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