HK Legislature Urged: Move Now On Balanced Digital Copyright Bill

Hong Kong, 5 December 2015 – CASBAA today renewed its appeal to Hong Kong’s legislature to pass proposed amendments to the Copyright Ordinance when they come up for debate later this week. The amendments are critical to the future of the content industries in the SAR; they bring digital copyright principles to Hong Kong for the first time. “Hong Kong’s IP law is in dire need of updating,” said Chief Policy Officer John Medeiros, “in order to take account of legal and illegal digital distribution of copyrighted materials, including entire online packages of pirated pay-TV programming.”

Provisions to bring the digital world under reasonable and balanced copyright law have been debated for almost a decade in Hong Kong. (The SAR does not now have laws to implement its latest WIPO treaty commitments.) “While the laws are delayed, online piracy has flourished,” said Medeiros. “The lack of good laws in Hong Kong is causing huge damage to the creative industry. It is not theoretical; real jobs are being lost.”

The legislature next week will consider a series of more than 900 amendments to weaken the bill, and the “netizen” lobby is pushing for the bill’s defeat if their wishes aren’t met. For its part, CASBAA does not think the bill provides strong enough protection for copyrighted broadcasts, but on balance CASBAA prefers the bill be passed now, so that other issues – including the netizens’ proposed new exceptions as well as additional enforcement authority against commercial-scale piracy syndicates – can be considered in detailed consultations next year.

The bill has been dubbed an “Internet Article 23” by its detractors, confusing the public with the state security legislation in Hong Kong that was proposed, and then withdrawn, in 2003. “This nickname has become a distraction to the deliberation of the real issues in the bill,” Medeiros said. “Good copyright laws exist in all of the world’s leading democracies, and there is no contradiction between protecting creation of quality video programming, and basic civil rights.”



亞洲有線與衛星電視廣播協會(CASBAA,下稱「協會」)今日再次敦促香港立法會在本周稍後的會議上,通過對《版權條例》的建議修訂。該次修訂對香港特別行政區內容產業的未來尤關重要,將是香港歷來首次訂立數碼版權的相關原則。協會首席政策總裁馬德朗(John Medeiro)表示:「香港的知識產權法規亟需更新,以涵蓋通過合法與非法數碼渠道發布的內容,包括以整套形式於網上發布的盜版付費電視節目。」