HomeNews & EventsThe UK, Peru, and Singapore introduce amended copyright laws
February 24, 2021

The UK, Peru, and Singapore introduce amended copyright laws

The commencement of this year has seen multiple jurisdictions amend their intellectual property legislation, with the majority of changes being in relation to patents and trademarks. However, an emerging pattern of copyright reforms can be seen across the globe, with the UK and Peru amending their respective copyright laws, and Singapore introducing a new draft of its copyright legislation.

The UK

The copyright law previously in force in the UK was largely based on EU copyright legislation and precedent, the majority of which was heavily influenced by international treaties. Due to the UK officially leaving the European Union on January 1, 2021, it was necessary for the UK to amend its copyright law as it referenced both the EU and the European Economic Area, or the EEA, with which the UK signed a separation agreement on January 28, 2020. Some of these references previously allowed for reciprocal protection of copyrights and additional benefits between the UK and other member states across the EU and EEA.

On January 1, 2021, amended UK copyright legislation as per the European Withdrawal Act came into force. This eliminated or corrected references to the EU, EEA and member states in the Copyright law prior to Brexit, and maintained UK law where feasible. Despite the alterations, most works created in either the UK or the EU, inclusive of films, musical works, and books, will remain protected by copyright in both territories, due to the fact that the UK and all EU Member States are privy to international copyright treaties.

Peru

Peru has also enacted a new legislative decree, the provisions of which amend the Law on Copyright of Peru. The amendments to the copyright law were approved by the Peruvian congress on January 15, 2021, with the intention of aligning the country's copyright law with the obligations set forth in the Marrakesh Treaty.

The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013, with Peru acceding to it in the same year. Formally named the 'Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled', it aims to provide and improve accessibility of copyrighted printed works for those with disabilities that physically prevent regular interaction with such works. In order to implement this, the amendments to Peru's copyright law include exceptions to limitations for those who are deemed eligible under the treaty, for example, persons who are visually impaired. Furthermore, the modifications also introduce exceptions to allow for the exchange of copies of copyrighted works across borders for eligible entities and those with visual disabilities on the territories of the contracting parties. These exceptions are protected by new measures which ensure that those who benefit from the exceptions are not classified as infringing parties to copyright works.

Singapore

On February 5, 2021, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) announced a two-month public consultation in relation to a new draft of the country's Copyright Bill. The draft law is set to replace the presently enforced Copyright Act of Singapore, and is intended to introduce new rights for copyright holders as well as infringement exceptions, pursuant to recommendations set forth in a 2019 report on the legislation itself.

Among the most significant differences between the present and the draft Bill is that a brand new right has been introduced in relation to attribution for performers and creators. Moreover, further infringement exceptions and remedies have been introduced into the draft Bill, including exceptions for materials on a statutory register, computational data analysis, and online works which are freely available for certain educational uses. The extension of the limitation of remedies for innocent infringement means that performance is now included in the scope of admissible use. Furthermore, the new draft law allows for exclusive licensees to have the same remedies as the ones available to a copyright owner, whereas the prior legislation only grants this right "if the license had been an assignment."

The drafting of the new Bill was done so with the intention of making it more understandable and readable than the current copyright law, increasing its accessibility. This was facilitated by the restructuring of the provisions, providing a more thematic and streamlined structure. Moreover, the exceptions have been consolidated into a single section of "Permitted Uses", allowing readers a more efficient way of assessing the relevant exceptions to works.

Early 2021 has shown some notable changes to intellectual property law across various jurisdictions. The modifications to copyright legislation in the UK, Singapore, and Peru demonstrate an ever evolving IP field, and are hoped to assist copyright holders in protecting and increasing the accessibility of their respective works.

Author: Danielle Carvey
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