HK Copyright Policy Developments

Hong Kong backs copyright owners

The proposals are the culmination of a consultation exercise that the government launched in late 2004, asking whether Hong Kong should make all end-user piracy a criminal offence and introduce a US-style system of non-exhaustive copyright exemption. The consultation was prompted by a copyright law crisis that began in 2001, when the government pushed through a law making it a crime to possess an infringing copy of any kind of copyright work, from pirated software to photocopies of a newspaper article, if it was to be used in business.

[…] Hong Kong is set to criminalize the sale of modified chips that allow games consoles to play pirated computer games. Tsang said the so-called mod chips “contribute substantially to the existence of a thriving market for infringing copies”. He said the new measure would also deter “other commercial activities undertaken to circumvent the technological measures applied to a copy of copyright work distributed in the digital environment, such as songs available for sale on the internet”.

But the proposals will not give games makers and DVD manufacturers a free hand to stop people from producing devices to override measures aimed at dividing the market, such as codes that prevent DVDs sold in one region of the world from being watched on a DVD machine in another.

“We are still working out the fine details,” said Eugenia Chung, assistant secretary for commerce, industry and technology. “But our primary aim is to protect copyright, not market segmentation.”

The government also plans to introduce rental rights for films and comic books and allow copyright owners to sue if anyone violates these new rights.