Yesterday Taiwan passed revisions to its copyright laws which hit file-sharing pretty hard. The amendment makes it a crime to use P2P technology to facilitate the distribution of copyrighted works online, which sounds like pretty bad news for Taiwanese torrent sites who previously operated in a legal gray area.
For ISPs, the legislation provides a double-edged sword. The plus side is that in future ISPs will be exempt from taking responsibility for the copyright infringing actions of their customers, under a DMCA-style ’safe harbor’ provision, coupled with a ‘takedown’ system for alleged infringing content.
The downside is ISPs will have to introduce a ‘3 strikes’ regime for subscribers accused of infringement by copyright holders. After the third ’strike’, the ISP can take a range of measures against the user including throttling or disconnection.
The ‘3 strikes’ regime in no way protects file-sharers from the copyright holders taking legal action against them, so they could face disconnection and a claim for damages. The change in the law is aimed squarely at heavy uploaders, not casual file-sharers.
According to another report, ISPs will not be permitted to hand over the personal details of alleged file-sharers to copyright holders. However, should the individual submit a counter claim to restore previously removed content (read: protest innocence), his or her details can be made available to the rights holders.
Several countries are currently considering to implement ‘3 strikes’ legislation, most notably France. The UK was thought to be heading in a similar direction, but Minister David Lammy ruled out this possibility. ‘We do not believe that would be the right road to go down,’ he said recently.
Taiwan sides with France and believes that the new legislation will be effective in reducing copyright infringement on file-sharing networks. In addition, Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office will also launch an anti-piracy publicity drive to help the public understand the new legislation and the ‘problem’ of piracy.