Copyright violators will only be prosecuted at owner's say-so: intellectual property chief

Local | 25 Nov 2021 2:17 pm

Authorities will only prosecute copyright violators if the owners want to lay charges, director of Intellectual Property Department David Wong Fuk-loi said.

This came after authorities on Wednesday began a three-month public consultation on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill to offer better protection to copyright owners.

But exemptions will be given to parodies, satires and quotations.

Speaking in a radio program on Thursday, Wong said authorities will not “skip” copyright owners when handling cases of copyright infringement.

“The most key element in copyright violation is whether the owner thinks it is a violation,” he said. “If the owner is not against the use of their creations, the government is in no position to lay charges.”

But Democratic Party’s spokesman for information technology and broadcasting policy Kelvin Sin Cheuk-nam is concerned whether citizens will face the risk of violating the law if they earn their living from covering songs in busking performances.

Sin said that song covers are not parodies and thus not under the exempted categories. He called for authorities to explain whether busking will constitute copyright violations.

Sin also said the consultation papers did not provide a clear definition of the exemptions for satire and parody, adding he is worried that creativity would be limited after the amendment.

He suggested authorities set out scenarios to address concerns and refer to the practice in other countries, which allow the use of copyrighted works as long as owners are credited.

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