Pirate sites could be blocked in the future with proposed changes to Copyright Act

Websites that mainly offer pirated content, which could include The Pirate Bay, might be blocked by all Internet service providers here in the future. -- PHOTO: THE PIRATE BAY
Websites that mainly offer pirated content, which could include The Pirate Bay, might be blocked by all Internet service providers here in the future. -- PHOTO: THE PIRATE BAY

Websites that mainly offer pirated content - which could include well-known file-sharing site The Pirate Bay - might be blocked by all Internet service providers here in the future.

This could pan out if holders of the copyrights to the content - such as music, movies and books - apply to the High Court to block access to such pirate sites, under proposed changes to the Copyright Act by the Ministry of Law.

On Monday, the ministry put out a consultation paper to seek public feedback on the amendments, which are planned to be made by the end of the year.

The changes target websites that blatantly disregard or clearly infringe copyrights. However, legitimate search engines and content-sharing sites, such as Google and YouTube, will not be affected.

Previously, copyright holders had to issue notices to Internet service providers to disable access or remove pirated content from their networks. If the providers did not comply, the copyright holders had to sue them for copyright infringement.

This has proven to be ineffective, said the Law Ministry.

If the proposed change is implemented, it is expected to take about two months for copyright holders to successfully apply to the High Court to block pirate sites.

Affected websites and Internet service providers can appeal against decisions by the High Court. The copyright holders can appeal too.

Those interested to provide feedback on the proposed changes to the Copyright Act can find more details at http://bit.ly/1ekIlbp. The public consultation period closes on April 21.