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Indranee Rajah, Law

Govt considers blocking some sites to combat online piracy and illegal downloads

Published on Oct 21, 2013 3:28 PM
 
Singaporeans who download pirated movies and music on certain websites may soon find it difficult to do so, as the Government is now considering blocking some of these sites. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

SINGAPOREANS who download pirated movies and music on certain websites may soon find it difficult to do so, as the Government is now considering blocking some of these sites.

This was announced by Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah in Parliament on Monday.

In response to a question by Nominated MP Janice Koh on the Government's measures to stop digital piracy, Ms Rajah said her ministry is currently discussing with other agencies "the role of site blocking as a measure to help counter the ease of accessing copyright infringing material online".

How this would actually be implemented will be "carefully considered", and in the coming months the Government will consult the industry and public on the appropriate way to do so.

Site-blocking was one of several proposals to combat digital piracy made by the government-convened Media Convergence Review Panel last year.

Ms Rajah said that the Government would still take a multi-pronged approach, which would include more public education and ensuring that legitimate content is accessible at reasonable prices. There is "no one single measure" that will resolve the problem, she said.

But she noted that the preliminary view is that site blocking can restrict access to pirated content, quoting an International Federation of the Phonographic Industry report that within a year of five European countries restricting Internet users' access to the website Pirate Bay, the traffic to the site dropped by 69 per cent.

Pirate Bay is popular among users who upload and download pirated versions of television shows, movies, music and e-books.