On Saturday, news broke that Internet start-up RecordTV has sued Singapore's national broadcaster MediaCorp for revenue losses arising from MediaCorp's allegations that RecordTV's service, which allows users to download free-to-air programs and store them in an online database, infringes copyright laws.
RecordTV fired the first salvo last September by suing MediaCorp. It would be inappropriate to comment on the case while court proceedings are ongoing. This case will determine whether a service such as that offered by RecordTV, would constitute infringement of copyright.
Suffice it to say, to get to this stage, RecordTV probably used a little known provision in Singapore's copyright laws that allow a person threatened with copyright infringement, to take action against such threats if such threats are groundless.
Section 200 provides that "(w)here a person, by means of circulars, advertisements or otherwise, threatens a person with an action or proceeding in respect of an infringement of copyright, then, whether the person making the threats is or is not the owner of the copyright or an exclusive licensee, a person aggrieved may bring an action against the first-mentioned person and may: (a) obtain a declaration to the effect that the threats are unjustifiable; (b) obtain an injunction against the continuance of the threats; and (c) recover such damages, if any, as he has sustained, unless the first-mentioned person satisfies the court that the acts in respect of which the action or proceeding was threatened constituted, or, if done, would constitute, an infringement of copyright."
Thus, it would be possible for any alleged infringer to take the initiative and force an outcome to the situation. This is much preferable than waiting for court action, if the situation calls for urgent resolution.
The copyright community will also probably eagerly await the trial and the court's decision.