The Singapore parliament has just passed an amendment to the city-state’s Copyright Act that targets sites such as The Pirate Bay. The bill introduces an “order to disable access to flagrantly infringing online location” — which means that a copyright owner can submit an application to the High Court, after which a network service provider can be ordered to block the offending site.
As CNET notes, copyright owners could previously issue a take-down notice, but service providers weren’t forced to comply and typically wouldn’t act on it.
This new amendment changes the game quite a fair bit, and is good news for those holding the copyrights of movies and music. The Singapore High Court still needs to determine a series of criteria, including whether the “primary purpose” of the site is to facilitate or commit copyright infringement, but it seems that the answer is clear for sites like The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.
However, tech-savvy internet users shouldn’t have much of a problem circumventing such blocks with the use of a VPN.
Singapore joins the ISP blocking party a bit late — ever since a court case in April 2009 that found The Pirate Bay’s four founders guilty of facilitating illegal downloading of copyrighted material, ISPs have been ordered by governments around the world to block access to the site.