Report: Singapore considers 'three strikes' anti-piracy law

Law being studied would cut off Internet access for users warned three times to stop downloading pirated content

Singaporean authorities are studying a law that would cut off the Internet access of users who receive three warnings to stop downloading pirated content, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

Apparently a version of the "three strikes" law already proposed in several countries and implemented in South Korea, the law being studied in Singapore would allow authorities to cut off Internet access for any person who receives three warnings to stop downloading pirated content, the reportsaid.

At the time of writing, a spokeswoman for the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), a government regulatory body that advises policy makers on copyright law, had not responded to a request for comment.

The Straits Times report didn't offer details of how such a law might work in Singapore or the proposed procedure for cutting off a user's Internet access. However, the report said concerns had been raised that cutting off a user's Internet access from one provider would not necessarily prevent them from connecting using other means, such as a family member's Internet connection.

While a "three strikes" law took effect in South Korea last month, advocates of such laws have run into opposition from courts and governments in France, New Zealand and the U.K. Such opposition has forced changes in some countries to include better legal protections and guarantees of due process for users accused of piracy.

In June, U.K. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham reportedly said cutting off the Internet access of users who download pirated content was not the government's "preferred option" for fighting piracy.

Around the same time, a French court ruled that a proposed "three strikes" law was unconstitutional, partly because it would have ended the presumption of innocence for defendants under French law and required them to file a suit to have their Internet connection reinstated. A revised proposal, put forth last month, would require copyright holders to bring complaints about piracy to a French court, which would have the power to fine users, sentence them to jail or cut off their access to the Internet.

In New Zealand, a "three strikes" law was delayed indefinitely in March after concerns were raised about its implementation.

A revised proposal under consideration by New Zealand's Ministry of Economic Development would require copyright holders to bring allegations of repeated piracy to a government tribunal, which would have the power to levy fines or request that an Internet provider cut off the user's account.

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