In Focus
ECONOMY | Tony Chua, Hong Kong

Hong Kong to boost copyright protection

Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2011 aims to be more flexible in the wake of rapid advances in technology.

The Government will table the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2011 at the Legislative Council on June 15. The bill enhances protection of copyright works in the digital environment to compete with advances in information technology.

Acting Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Gregory So said on Thursday the Government is committed to maintaining a robust copyright protection regime, for the healthy development of the creative industries.

“In finalising the bill, we have further engaged major stakeholders with a view to ensuring we are striking a reasonable balance between the interests of different stakeholders,” he said.

“In enhancing protection for copyright works, we are moving forward in a manner sensitive to the importance of maintaining the free flow of information across the Internet and safeguarding personal privacy, as well as fostering the further development of Hong Kong as a regional Internet service hub.”

The bill updates the copyright law so it can better endure the test of advances in technology. It also enables co-operation between copyright owners and online service providers in the fight against online infringement, and at facilitating reasonable use of copyright works in the digital environment including e-learning.

Major proposals under the bill include introducing a technology-neutral exclusive right for copyright owners to communicate their works through any mode of electronic transmission, with ancillary criminal liability against unauthorised communication of copyright works to the public made in the course of business for profit or to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owners.

It also proposes to establish a statutory “safe harbour” for online service providers so their liability for copyright infringement occurring on their service platforms can be limited, provided they meet certain prescribed conditions, including the taking of reasonable steps to limit or stop copyright infringement when being notified.

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