The virtual private network (VPN) is a neutral technology with many different and legitimate uses ("Why block overseas content from willing subscribers?" by Mr Eric J. Brooks; Thursday, and "Include fair-use clause in Copyright Act" by Mr Heng Cho Choon; Forum Online, Wednesday).
The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore understand consumer practices reflect their demand for access to legitimate content, already available overseas, in Singapore.
Currently, there is no clear international legal consensus or approach on such practices.
In the copyright review public consultation, MinLaw is not making any recommendations in respect of VPNs, and we will continue to gather the views of stakeholders for our consideration.
We also encourage online content providers to continue to work on making more content accessible in Singapore through legitimate channels, at similarly competitive prices.
More generally, Singapore's Copyright Act attempts to achieve a balance between creators and consumers of copyrighted works.
Thus, it already contains "fair use" clauses for the benefit of schools, libraries and archives, as well as the general public.
The current public consultation covers a wide range of proposals, and aims to achieve a balance between providing an incentive to create and disseminate new creative works, and access to those works for the benefit of other creators and for society.
We look forward to receiving constructive feedback on these proposals.
Praveen Randhawa (Ms)
Ministry of Law