Legislators approve the Copyright (Amendment) Bill in Hong Kong
The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, which will modernize the Special Administrative Region’s copyright legislation, was approved by legislators in Hong Kong.
The introduction of a “technology-neutral exclusive communication right” to the legislation, which permits copyright owners to distribute their works via any form of electronic transmission and outlines sanctions for infringing the newly-covered right, is one of the amendments, according to broadcaster RTHK.
Additionally, according to the RTHK, exceptions were made for “certain common internet activities,” such as satire, parody, and commenting on current events.
The government tried to amend the copyright law twice but was unsuccessful in persuading legislators to approve its proposals. Legislative reforms were also approved by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco), which will result in the establishment of a licensing framework for service providers of virtual assets (VA).
The key legislative measures in the Bill, which are based on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014, are the outcome of extensive deliberation and years of consultation that began in 2006, and they reflect the agreement and harmony of interests of various stakeholders. The pertinent legislation measures address the five crucial topics listed below:
- To introduce an exclusive technology-neutral communication right for copyright owners in light of technological developments;
- To introduce criminal sanctions against infringements relating to the new communication right;
- To revise and expand the scope of copyright exceptions to allow the use of copyright works in certain common Internet activities; facilitate online learning and operation of libraries, archives, and museums; and allow media shifting of sound recordings, etc;
- To introduce “safe harbor” provisions to provide incentives for online service providers to cooperate with copyright owners in combating online piracy and to provide reasonable protection for their acts; and
- To introduce two additional statutory factors for the court to consider when assessing whether to award additional damages to copyright owners in civil cases involving copyright infringements.
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