The Amendment to Copyright Act for Blocking Infringing Websites Calls an Emergency Stop
To efficiently crack down piracy and deter Intellectual Property Right (IPR) infringement, the TIPO announced in May 2013 that they planned to revise the Copyright Act to establish rapid processing measures for blocking overseas IPR infringing websites via the IP address (Internet Protocol Address) or DNS (Domain Name System).
As soon as the news released, the public concerned that excessive enforcement of fighting against piracy may compromise the freedom of speech and confidential communications. If acting in any haste, abrupt revision to Copyright Act will only result in annoyance to the public and incur objections.
In this regard, the TIPO held that the current regulations only govern the websites with domestic servers; however, many websites were set up overseas, which are difficult to suppress due to different jurisdictions, and thus resulted in the increaseof IPR infringement, and caused substantial damages to the development of creative industries in Taiwan, such as the digital press, media, audios & videos, and entertainments, etc.. Therefore, it was the TIPO’s initial intention to immediately deter infringement over the Internet in order to stop its rapid propagation and instant spread.
The TIPO further stated that for those websites conducting severe content infringement will be blocked in the future, where the "severe infringement" stands that almost all of the content of the websites constitute a malignant infringement, such as video websites or websites with business mode that encourages visitors to infringe. For those popular audios & videos websites, of which their partial contents are lawfully authorized, such as PPS, Tudou, Youku, etc., and those portal websites that are frequently visited by the public, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MicroBlog, Dropbox, Google, Yahoo, etc., these will not be affected by this revision, because the drive of this policy is to protect the development of cultural and creative industries.
However, the tendency of such a revision still aroused massive rebounds from the Internet users. Tens of thousands of both domestic and overseas Internet users countersigned to express their objections. The most important argument is that whether or not a behavior constitutes an infringement shall be determined by judicial authorities rather than by administrative authorities, scholars or experts. Otherwise, to arbitrarily block the exchange of information and impede the public’s rights of knowledge is nothing but a retrogradation of the democratic process.
In view of the waves of objections from all levels, the TIPO called an emergency stop on the law amendment after deliberation and evaluation.
Even though the TIPO emphasized that the Internet websites blocking plan was not meant to challenge the freedom of speech to the public, criticisms still believed that the intervention of executive authorities into the blocking of IPR infringing websites was inappropriate. To avoid causing unnecessary misunderstanding, the TIPO had decided to withdraw this plan.