The Ministry of Law is considering making using a VPN illegal by proposing an amendment in the Copyright Act.
The Ministry of Law, nicknamed popularly as MinLaw, is set to review the legality of using a VPN. This move comes as part of a host of wide-ranging changes under consideration in the new amendment to the Copyright Act which was last updated back in 2004.
Singapore’s Intellectual Property Office understands that the usage of VPNs is complicated. CEO Daren Tang said that some people have expressed concerns that bypassing geo-restrictions could infringe copyright laws. However, he maintained the Singapore remains as a strong proponent of parallel import, which is what VPNs ultimately lead to in the digital world.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, Ms Indranee Rajah, said that the reviewing of the legality of VPNs is simply to strengthen the intellectual property regime of the country as well as allow for keeping it up to date with modern technological advancement and business needs. She added that IP is not just about law but about business and innovation as well, and that this sector could even churn out some high-value jobs.
The MinLaw launched a public consultation on August 23 to gather public feedback on the proposed changes. The consultation will last for two months, ending on October 24. The aim of this consultation is to provide the creators recognition as well as protection for their works. It would also give easier and reasonable access to the users to such works.
The consultation will serve as a platform for small business owners and individuals to come forward and present their views on the standing issue. Their opinion would enable the government to have the input from all the stakeholders in the issue before moving towards a decision to improve the copyright regime of the country.
The reason behind this proposed review has been cited by many as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This agreement, signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries, is supposedly an agreement to facilitate better and freer trade between the member nations. Tax tariffs will be dropped according to the agreement, and better and more stable job opportunities and services would also rise.
However, a document leaked by WikiLeaks revealed that it is all a scheme for countries like USA to enforce the issue of copyright infringement wherever they can. The agreement discusses criminalization of anyone who indulges in copyright infringement, despite not using it for personal gain.
VPNs have been in use in Singapore for many years now. Primarily used by business owners to provide a secure communication channel for their remote users, VPNs are also used to bypass geo-restrictions as well as government blocks and censorship. People in Singapore have been using VPNs to stream overseas content for many years now, and this review could cause a severe impact on their lives.