Taiwan passed amendments to Copyright Act

22 July 2022

Taiwan passed amendments to Copyright Act

The Taiwanese government has reviewed and revised its IP laws, including the Copyright Act, to comply with the regulations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which Taiwan is bidding to join. The amendments are considered an effort by Taiwan to facilitate its future negotiations to join the CPTPP.

According to Cathy Ting, senior counselor at Lee and Li in Taipei, one of the main amendments is that instances of illegal digital piracy, distribution, and public transmission which constitute serious infringement are now considered offenses indictable without complaint. "Serious infringement" is determined by three criteria: infringement of work provided not for free by another person; reproduction in their original form (100% reproduction); and infringements causing damages exceeding NT$1 million (US$33,400).

Another main amendment is about optical disc piracy, which is no longer a major source of infringement and will therefore revert to general liabilities for reproduction and distribution. As such, provisions which increased penalties for the reproduction and distribution of pirated optical discs, as well as for confiscation and forfeiture thereof, have been deleted accordingly.

The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. Taiwan applied to join the CPTPP on September 22, 2021. The above amendments were passed on April 15, 2022.

Furthermore, the Legislative Yuan also passed partial draft amendments to the Copyright Act in July 2022 in view of the developments of technology and educational policies, and in response to pandemic measures. Ting said: “The amendments target to improve distance learning or virtual classrooms to function as an extension of the physical classroom. To achieve this goal, the amendments include rules for fair use of copyrighted works, allowing teachers to provide classroom instruction without worry.”

The amendments to the Copyright Act to meet distance learning needs mainly cover four aspects. The first is fair use of copyrighted works by schools and teachers for registered students during distance learning. To avoid excessive infringement of copyrights, schools are required to take reasonable technical measures to prevent students not taking the class from accessing the courses.

The second is that not-for-profit remote education may use copyrighted works and are required to pay remuneration.

Thirdly, textbook preparers may transmit digital copies to teachers and students to meet the need for e-schoolbags. Remuneration must be paid for the authorized use of copyrighted works to ensure the rights of copyright owner.

Finally, the National Central Library may create a digital collection that is only accessible to visitors on the library’s intranet.

Ting said that these amendments are designated for Taiwan's current need for digital education policy and can promote development of diverse educational modes.


-Ivy Choi

Law firms

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