Singapore was a pirate haven long before Sir Stamford Raffles first set foot on the nation’s soil in 1819. While plenty has changed over the last 195 years, one thing sure hasn’t – Singaporeans are still masters of piracy.
Except now, it’s not trading ships in the Strait of Malacca that are getting pillaged – it’s the music, television, and film industries that are getting ravaged by piracy.
Well, about that… it looks like the days of unrestrained downloading, torrenting, and sharing of “pirated” content might be coming to a close.
That’s because Parliament on 8 July 2014 passed a new amendment to the Copyright Act that specifically targets the sharing sites you know and love. It looks like the government’s “war” on piracy has officially begun.
What Exactly Will Happen Now?
It’s no secret that Singaporeans LOVE to download pirated content. In fact, about 60% of Singaporeans age 16-64 admitted in a recent survey to downloading pirated content online.
The percentage is quite high, mostly because online piracy is considered normal. However, most Singaporeans download pirated content strictly for personal use and not for commercial purposes.
Since late last year, the government has contemplated blocking websites that allow you to download or torrent “pirated” content – especially from sites like the infamous Pirate Bay.
But now, the government has finally pulled the trigger on an amendment to the Copyright Act that makes it easier for copyright owners to have sites blocked for infringing on their exclusive rights.
Copyright owners can go directly to the court to have a network service provider take down copyrighted material.
That means copyright owners don’t need to establish liability or request a network service provider to take copyright protected content down – they can have protected content removed or have a blocking order issued against an offending website without any fuss.
In fact, once a blocking order has been filed – it can take a little as two months for a site to get blocked by network service providers.
Will This Really Be an End to “Free” Movies, Music, and TV Shows?
That’s the $1 million dollar question now isn’t it? Well, despite the many benefits that digital piracy has on the creative industry, it looks like the latest Copyright Act amendment just might be the torpedo that sinks sites such as the unsinkable Pirate Bay.
The reality is that for a number of your favorite digital download, viewing, and torrent sites, it’s only a matter of months before they get blocked by your network service provider.
Yeah, that’ll put a real dent in your digital piracy routine, but there are ways around such obstacles.
The easiest way for you to get around the upcoming wholesale blocking of “piracy” sites is to use the same technique that enables you to get Netflix in Singapore – to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
With a VPN, you can mask your IP address so that you can still access sites that are blocked in Singapore. It’s not too expensive either, costing less per year than your monthly phone bill!
So stay strong Singaporeans – there’s always a way to persevere in the face of overwhelming anti-piracy laws so you can download entire seasons of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
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