Criminal Liabilities for Infringement  

Everyone here in Singapore knows about the copyright infringement issues of “Blurred Lines”. According to the claim, “Blurred Lines” has similarities to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”. The children of Marvin Gaye filed copyright infringement case against Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams. For the information of everyone, the judges favoured the Gaye’s but the lawsuit against Sony is dismissed.


It is important for all Singaporeans to know infringement and the enforcement of copyright to avoid criminal liabilities. This is not a light issue. Before discussing the criminal liabilities, it is imperative that we know what infringement is. Infringement happens when someone has not acquired consent or permission from the copyright owner to do something that only the owner has the exclusive right to do.

It does not end there because infringement also happens when someone sells or distributes something without the permission of the owner. The owner can take legal action against an individual who infringes. The copyright law gives measures to a person whose rights are infringed. Measures include injunctions (this refers to stopping an individual from doing something), damages (if there are actual damages) and the account of profits. In the case of the “Blurred Lines”, the court asked the Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams to pay fees to the family.

The criminal liabilities depend on the country. Here in Singapore, there are penalties for direct copyright infringement. It is a criminal offence here if the person directly infringes a copyright for the purposes of attaining commercial advantage. When we hear “commercial advantage”, it means the person seeks for a financial gain in his/her specific trade or business. The penalties include:


  • 1st offence: A person who infringed the right of the owner should pay a fine not exceeding $20,000. The person may also be imprisoned for up to six months. The worst thing that could happen is that the person could get both (fee and imprisonment).
  • 2nd or subsequent offences: A person who infringed the right of the owner should pay a fine not exceeding $50,000. The person may be imprisoned for up to three years. Again, the worst thing that could happen is to get both penalties (fee and imprisonment).

Infringement doesn’t end at copying or selling, it can also include dodging a technological measure and altering the information attached to a specific work. Copyright infringement is a serious crime and it should be respected. People need to know these things so they will know the consequences. We have to remember that ignorance of the law excuses no one.

Online Piracy And Illegal Downloading Of Music, Films And Software

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