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Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive

When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems

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Singapore's Ministry of Law has decided that a “three strikes” regime for online copyright infringement is too intrusive for Internet users, and has excluded such an approach from consultations over takedown mechanisms.

The consultation, described in full here, is canvassing changes to that country's copyright act to deal with online copyright infringement.

The ministry states clearly that “graduated response” mechanisms “may not be suitable in Singapore’s context as they are too intrusive on internet users.”

Neither is the country's current regime, in which rights holders can issue take-down notices to ISPs, working particularly well. The ministry says takedowns are ineffective because if an ISP ignores it, the rights-holder needs to take the ISP to court.

Instead, as Singapore's Todayonline writes, the ministry proposes letting rights holders “apply directly to the Courts for injunctions to prevent access to sites that 'clearly and blatantly infringe copyright without having to sue the ISPs'.”

This mechanism would mean that ISPs weren't directly implicated in a complaint, the ministry says.

Before asking for an injunction, rights holders would have to try to contact the owner of an allegedly-infringing sites, as well as any ISPs likely to be impact, and the proposal includes avenues for appeals.

For Singapore to decide a three strikes law is too intrusive is remarkable: the nation ranks poorly on civil liberties and press freedom indices and locals joke it is a "fine" nation as it is possible to be fined for many deeds. ®

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