Singapore netizens slap silks for copyright bullying

Internet Society Sg takes aim at Dallas Buyers Club letters

Singapore's Internet Society is fighting back against lawyers for sending speculative demands on behalf of Dallas Buyers Club.

The society says lawyers who sent the letters have breached the Singapore Law Society’s ethical guidelines by using threats of criminal proceedings to advance a civil legal claim.

As reported by local outlet Today OnlineLetters sent to subscribers of Singaporean telco M1 asked for a written offer of damages and costs, and also spelt out penalties of $S50,000 and five years imprisonment for people who did not comply with the demands.

Internet Society (Singapore) president Harish Pillay said the letters were a bullying tactic.

“These words make people panic, especially those who are not legally trained ... They are blaming people of alleged transgression without proof ... Those who are a bit naive will settle,” said Mr Pillay. In an interview with TodayOnline.

The law firm which sent out the letters, Samuel Seow Law Corp, said it had no knowledge of the complaint made by the Internet Society to the Singapore Law Society, and also added that it had sent out a new batch of letters aimed at illegal downloaders.

In its reply to TodayOnline, the Law Society said that under "the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society is required to maintain confidentiality of all proceedings of Council, save for specific sanctions that are imposed by Council or when findings are made by the Disciplinary Tribunal as these are required to be published".

"The society is therefore unable to comment if it has or has not received a complaint against any named lawyer or the status of any complaint received," it continued.

Along with action in Singapore, the studio behind Dallas Buyer’s Club has also taken action in both Australia and the United States, where it has gone after 4,700 and 1000 people respectively who are claimed to have illegally downloaded the movie. ®

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