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Spread The Word #304, Feb 2, 2004.
25 $INGAPORE STUDENTS FINED FOR MUSIC DOWNLOADS
It wasn't one girl after all. On Feb 2, 2004 we reported that one $ingaporean was fined $4,000 for downloading music from Kazaa. But a Feb 18, 2004 report in the nation-builder press said 25 students have been caught and fined by their university "in the past six months". The report said the music companies did not catch the students but that National University of Singapore fined 20 students $200 each while Nanyang Technological University caught and fined five students.
This was revealed in the report: "Copyright owners complained to NTU and NUS after they tracked down the computers involved in the illegal swops." It was not explained how the music companies managed to detect music downloads in students computers. It was also not explained why the $ingapore courts were not used to charge the students if music downloads are illegal or how a university is empowered to fine its students for breaking a country's law. In the US, some universities challenged the music companies in court.
It became illegal for $ingaporeans to download music when the US and $ingapore Free Trade Agreement became law on Jan 1, 2004. $ingapore now has to obey US copyright laws. Previously, there had been no attempts to penalise $ingaporeans who downloaded music from the internet. Only vendors of pirated CDs and porno VCDS had previously been arrested by the police and charged in court.
University students in $ingapore now know "they can't be anonymous in cyberspace".
The report added: "A 22-year-old engineering student at NTU, who spoke on condition he wasn't named, said: 'Now I know my identity can be tracked, I'll remove the Kazaa program from my computer and stop sharing files over the network.'"
"Imagine, $ingapore universities are now policeman and judge for the music companies. We do not recall $ingapore universities ever policing the misuse of pirated computer software in students' computers. What police activities are $ingapore universities planning next?"
- The young, restless and cynical Mirror Of Opinion, Feb 18, 2004.
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Cohesion, January/February 2004.
MYSTERY OVER $INGAPOREAN KAZAA
USER FINED $4,000
$ingapore signed the Free Trade Agreement with the United States which came into effect Jan 1, 2004 and one disadvantage is more stringent control over downloading of music on the internet. The January/February 2004 issue of Cohesion magazine reported that a local Kazaa user was recently fined $4,000 after ignoring warnings to stop downloading music files illegally. When contacted, Edward Neubronner, chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of $ingapore [RIAS], said that this was the first time he had heard of the case and had no knowledge of the case at all. Likewise, phone calls to Warner Music, BMG, Sony, Universal and EMI elicited a similar response.
The only clue to the mysterious person who was fined was this note left on the jeremyratnam.com message board. Posted by b|each on Nov 25 last year, the note reads: "I have a friend... she got fined $4,000." Readers with any details of this case are welcomed to share their information with us. Cohesion is published by the North West Community Development Council. The mayor is Dr Teo Ho Pin, a PAP man.
The person could be the first $ingaporean to be caught under the new US-led copyright laws.