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Taiwan enacts controversial "three strikes" copyright law
Stephen Cremin in Taipei
28 Apr 2009 12:00
Taiwan's legislature has passed an amendment to the Copyright Act to authorise a controversial "three strikes and you're out" policy for online intellectual property violations.
Under the new regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) may suspend the accounts of customers who have been accused of downloading copyrighted material more than twice. In addition, ISPs will be responsible for alerting customers of infringement by e-mail after violations are brought to their attention by copyright holders.
ISPs themselves will be immune from prosecution as long as they did not initiate file transfers and were not aware of the copyright violations. Downloaders themselves will not be individually identified. Although the music and film industries have been pushing for "three strikes and you're out" policies around the world, Taiwan is one of the first countries to pass such legislation.
The French parliament recently rejected similar proposals and the UK 's intellectual property minister David Lammy rejected such a policy at the weekend. Taiwan has almost no visible signs of bootlegged videos on the street; the majority of copyright violations take place online.
The courts have sent mixed signals. While Ezpeer.com was found not guilty of copyright infringement in 2005, later the same year executives of rival service Kuro received prison sentences in the world's first criminal conviction for operating an internet file-sharing service.
In January this year, the US Trade Representative (USTR) office in Washington removed Taiwan from the Special 301 Watch List of countries that do not sufficiently protect intellectual property rights