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Court Decision

Court holds that users’ uploading, storing and downloading activities do not in themselves constitute dissemination of information

Three years after rights owner Sohu sued Baidu for both direct and indirect copyright infringement of Sohu's hit web series 匆匆那年 (namely, the fleet of time, 2014), Baidu won on appeal at Jiangsu High People’s Court after the 2018 defeat at a lower court. The Court held that users’ uploading, storing and downloading activities do not in themselves constitute dissemination of information over the network with the intent of communicating to the public. Although discovered evidence has shown copies of the web series appearing on Pan, the Court found insufficient proof of users’ actual “sharing” or “disseminating” activities using Pan services on the platform. On a particularly thorny issue of what constitute a valid notice, the Court tossed out Sohu’s MD5 hash matching proposal, holding that the notice failed to provide...

Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act comes into force

Five months after it was passed in Singapore Parliament, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) came into effect on Wednesday, October 2. Also came online was the POFMA office, the administrative arm of this new law, which is affiliated with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Aiming to protect society from misinformation that harms public interests, falsehoods are defined as "statements of fact that are false or misleading" which are to be determined by the POFMA ministers, whom would then decide whether to issue editorial corrections or takedown orders coupled with fines and/or jail time. Civil rights groups, academics, and intermediaries have all voiced concerns as to POFMA's vague and broad languages and the inherent uncertainties of its future applications. Facing dissents that...

Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA)

Bill No. 10/2019
Date of Commencement: 2 October 2019 An Act to prevent the electronic communication in Singapore of false statements of fact, to suppress support for and counteract the effects of such communication, to safeguard against the use of online accounts for such communication and for information manipulation, to enable measures to be taken to enhance transparency of online political advertisements, and for related matters. Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows: PART 1 PRELIMINARY Short title and commencement 1. This Act is the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 and comes into operation on a date that the Minister appoints by notification in the Gazette. General interpretation 2.—(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —...

Electronic Transactions Act, Parliamentary Legislation, Chapter 88, Revised Edition 2011, Dec 31, 2011 (originally Jul 10, 1998) (An Act to provide for the security and use of electronic transactions, to implement the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 23rd November 2005)

Section 26 in Part IV of the Electronic Transactions Act, which was modeled after Art 1 s 5 of the German Federal Law to Regulate Conditions for Information and Communication Services 1997, provides that a “network service provider” shall not be subject to any civil or criminal liability in respect of “third-party material” in the form of electronic records to which it “merely” “provides access." This exemption of liability is extended to cover liabilities in respect of data protection obligations with respect to third party material under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012. However this exemption does not extend to cover any obligations founded on contract, under a licensing or regulatory regime, laws or court orders to remove, block or deny access to material and copyright infringement. Of the key terms in this...
Court Decision

Court of Appeal, Civil Action, RecordTV Pte Ltd v MediaCorp TV Singapore Pte Ltd, [2011] 1 SLR 830; [2010] SGCA 43

(1) The appellant/plaintiff, RecordTV, was the provider of a remote-store digital video recorder service, known as iDVR or Internet digital video recorder, which allowed its registered users to request the recording of the respondents/defendants' free-to-air broadcasts in Singapore, based on the scheduling information of the respondents' programming which the appellant has provided. The respondents' broadcasts were received by the appellant's roof-mounted antenna and routed to the appellant's recording computers. If a registered user requested a recording, the appellant's control software would instruct the system to record the said program. Once a recording was made and stored on the appellant's premises' computers, it was made available for viewing to the user who requested the recording on their computers or their...

Copyright Act, Parliamentary Legislation, Chapter 63, Revised Edition 2006, January 31, 2006 (originally Apr. 19, 1987) (An Act relating to copyright and matters related thereto)

In 1999, Singapore made its first amendments to the Copyright Act to introduce various safe harbor defenses for Internet intermediaries as network service providers. Arising from its obligations under the U.S. Singapore Free Trade Agreement, Singapore further revised in 2004 the safe harbor defenses in the Copyright Act for network service providers. (1) Section 193A of the Copyright Act states that the safe harbor defenses are to apply to “network service providers”, which includes ISPs as intermediaries providing services and connections for data transmission or routing, as well as intermediaries who provide or operate facilities for online services or network access. It would seem that “network service providers” are broadly defined so that most Internet intermediaries would qualify for the safe harbor defenses. In...