Reed Smith Client Alerts

Singapore’s new Copyright Act (as amended) came into force on 21 November 2021 (the “Act”). The Act has introduced a number of changes to reflect technological developments and to provide right holders with more tools to protect and monetise their copyright, as well as to clarify and expand certain educational and fair use exemptions. The key developments introduced are set out in this alert.

Auteurs: Charmian Aw Hannah Kong Carolyn Chia (Resource Law LLC)

1. Equitable remuneration for sound recordings

Right holders have a new right to equitable remuneration when their recordings are broadcasted or publicly performed in Singapore. Restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars, shopping centres and other public spaces that play recorded music (or podcasts or audiobooks containing music) to the public will likely see an increase in their music licence fees.

2. Creators are the new default owners of commissioned work upon creation

Commissioned creators of photographs, portraits, engravings, sound recordings and films, will now be the first owner of the copyright in the work by default. This position can be modified in the commissioning agreement, as such, greater care must be given when reviewing such agreements and any templates ought to be revisited.

3. Default ownership of copyright by employers

The new Act now provides that employers will be the default owners of copyright in sound recordings and films that are created by their employees in the course of employment, unless otherwise modified by contract. Companies should review their existing employment contracts and templates and amend any provisions to reflect the new default position.

4. Right to be identified

Creators and performers now have a right to be identified whenever their works or performances are used in public. Anyone who uses or distributes such works in public, including on social media platforms, must “identify the respective creator(s) or performer(s) in a clear and reasonably prominent manner.” This obligation to identify does not apply if the creator’s or performer’s identity is unknown or if the user acquired the right to use the work prior to 21 November 2021.

5. “Fair dealing” now “fair use”

The courts no longer need to consider whether the user had a possibility of obtaining a right to use the work within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.