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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s legislature has passed an amendment to the island’s copyright act aimed at discouraging digital copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks and increasing the responsibility of ISPs.
Based on the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision against Grokster, the ISP liability amendment allows rights holders to either claim their rights via judiciary proceedings, or else follow a “notice and takedown” procedure to have copyright infringing content removed.
Taiwanese authorities have been stepping up intellectual property protection in recent years while simultaneously expressing concern about litigation-happy foreign rights holders. The courts in Taiwan are notoriously overburdened.
By requiring ISPs to pass on warnings from rights holders to P2P users, the bill is designed to encourage self-correction by users while discouraging excessively punitive lawsuits against small-time infringers.
In addition, the law introduces a “three-strikes” provision whereby ISPs can restrict the Internet access of users who download copyrighted material more then twice. This provision, in particular, was the focus of a critical media coverage that claimed ISPs might end up severing access for users who unwittingly downloaded copyrighted material.
“That’s not really the point,” said Margaret Chen, deputy director general of Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office. “These people are doing something they shouldn’t be doing in the first place. Besides, there are lots of ways to restrict Internet access besides cutting it off entirely.”
Under the new amendment to the copyright act, ISPs are not automatically permitted to disclose the identity of individual copyright abusers. Only if an individual user submits a counter-request to restore content previously removed can their personal information be furnished to the rights holder.
The P2P amendment will “significantly redress the problems of copyright infringement” the Intellectual Property Office said in a statement.
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