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Hong Kong strengthens copyright law

Amendments include new exceptions and a “safe harbour” regime.

Hong Kong amended the Copyright law to strengthen copyright protection in the digital environment, providing an exclusive technology-neutral right for copyright owners.

The amendments, which will take effect on 1 May, also provided that criminal sanctions against infringements of the new right will be imposed.

Read more: Government proposes measure to expedite development procedures

The changes to the ordinance include new and expanded copyright exceptions to maintain a balance between protection and reasonable use — such as allowing copyright materials in certain online activities and the operation of libraries, museums, and archives.

The amendments also added a “safe harbour” regime for incentivising online service providers (OSPs) to co-operate with copyright owners in combatting online piracy and included a code of practice to provide guidance and procedures that OSPs may adopt.

The city’s Customs and Excise Department will provide inspections with the help of copyright owners once the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 is implemented and will take enforcement action following the ordinance to further combat online piracy.

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