Copyright Protection

New Chinese Copyright Amendments Published

Monday, 11 August 2014 10:37

In early July, China's State Council Legislative Affairs Office published a new draft Copyright Law for public comment. Major provisions of the draft have been summarized by member company Hogan Lovells in a helpful English-language summary, which can be accessed through this web page.

   

WIPO Expert: HK Is Right To Reject A Copyright Exception for UGC

Thursday, 17 July 2014 10:22

A leading international expert in copyright law published a commentary on Hong Kong's proposed approach to user-generated content (UGC), in which he concludes that "to guarantee safe harmony with international treaties", the government is wise not to pursue a sweeping exception for UGC. Dr. Mihaly Ficsor is former Assistant Director (Copyright) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and his commentary can be found on the website of the Hong Kong Layer magazine, here.

"Netizen" advocacy groups in Hong Kong used the recent public consultation on exceptions for parody and political commentary to demand exceptions for all user-generated content, and they continue to press their case in the Legislative Council. The HK government's legislative proposal rejected a sweeping exception and proposed more targeted exceptions to make sure there is no obstacle to parody and political commentary. Dr. Ficsor says this is the right approach: genuine parody is "a typical form of UGC creation" which deserves support through "fine-tuned exceptions", but "the concept of UGC is too broad and vague" and a broad exception will likely conflict with WIPO's own treaties and their "three-step test" for copyright exceptions.

While netizens groups propose simple-sounding safeguards, they are frequently unworkable. Dr. Ficsor observes that, for example, just stating that UGC should be excepted as long as it has no commercial purpose doesn't cut the ice, as "even if the (user-generated) adaptation does not generate profit for its creator, the websites on which UGC adaptations are included are themselves usually profit-oriented (based, in general, on advertisement money)."

Noting that the European Union (among other governments) recently also rejected proposals for a broad UGC exception, Dr. Ficsor says "there does not seem to be any real need to legislate on UGC." The situation is hardly different in Hong Kong from the EU, he says, where a just-published White Paper notes: "There is a lack of evidence that the current legal framework for copyright puts a brake on or inhibits UGC (absence of 'chilling effect')". On the other side, a broad exception for secondary adaptations risks damaging primary creation: "Possible exceptions aimed at facilitating secondary productions must not endanger the sustainable creation and production of the primary works," says Dr. Ficsor.

For those following the political dialectic in the Hong Kong legislature, the commentary is worth reading in its entirety.

   

Annual Submission on Intellectual Property in Broadcasting

Monday, 10 February 2014 10:30

As in past years, CASBAA gave its views to the US Trade Representative as that organization began its annual review of intellectual property policies and practices around the world. Most of the situations in CASBAA's Asian markets have not radically changed, though the rise of online piracy is a growing concern as the region's broadband networks are built out. The submission expresses grave concern about development and export of Android-based pirate "black boxes" that make available whole bouquets of pay-TV programming, usually streamed from China to other markets in the region. On the good news side, it lauds the Indian government for its cable digitization policy, and notes that the Vietnamese government's liberalization of its pay-TV regulations in May 2013 has resulted in a smooth market situation there.

Read here

   

Human Resources Ministry Stakeholders Meeting Notes

Thursday, 11 April 2013 16:05

The Human Resources Ministry (which manages India’s WIPO participation) held a “Stakeholders’ Meeting” on March 21, 2013 to consult on India’s position for the upcoming meetings. CASBAA’s India representative and a few members of India’s broadcasting industry attended. They strongly advocated for India to abandon its insistence on excluding the internet from the treaty.

Here are a few of the points they made:

Given the rapid development and increasing maturity of India’s broadcasting industry, it is becoming a serious competitor in global entertainment markets. But to make this happen, its intellectual property must be protected.

The government needs to take cognizance of this, and work actively to advance India’s real interests, by pressing forward on a treaty to provide global protection to broadcasting organizations.

It is ridiculous to contemplate a treaty that does not include internet broadcasting. The internet is an essential tool for broadcasters in today’s world, and it is also the source of the lion’s share of copyright infringement. Developing-country broadcasters are trying to use the internet to reach out to consumers around the world. And of course this includes Indian broadcasters. Here in Asia, developing-country broadcasters distributing their channels by means of the internet come from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, to name a few.

Download note on India's HRD Ministry Meeting on Protection of Broadcasting Organizations' Rights At WIPO, March 21, 2013, New Delhi here

   

Broadcasters’ Retransmission Rights Affirmed by EU Court

Thursday, 21 March 2013 12:07

In a landmark verdict delivered in early March, the European Court of Justice issued a very strong decision in support of the rights of broadcasters to control simultaneous relay (on the internet or otherwise) of their signals.   CASBAA member ITV was one of the plaintiffs, and law firm Olswang acted for them.  Under the ECJ decision, many third-party internet relay services and “catchup” TV services will be considered to violate broadcasters’ copyrights -- even where (i) the subscribers to the service could otherwise lawfully have received the broadcast on their television receivers; and (ii) the service may or may not be profit-making or competing with the original broadcaster.   See an article and read the decision here.

   

Content and ISP Industries Unite: HK Copyright Legislation Must Go Ahead

Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00

A coalition of Hong Kong copyright associations (including CASBAA) and internet service providers is urging the SAR government to move expeditiously to enact copyright amendments that were six years in the making, but which stalled in the Legislative Council before it adjourned for elections last summer. At that time the legislation was criticized because of allegations it would restrain political parodies based on photos and other copyrighted works. The coalition noted that the legislation represents “a balance of considerations for all stakeholders, including many safeguards for real ‘parody’,” and urged the government to swiftly amend the 2011 bill, clarify the proposed criminal liability relating to “parody,” and submit the Bill to the Legislative Council “at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Download the full statement of the coalition here.

For its part, CASBAA joined the coalition in supporting rapid passage of the existing legislation, believing that broad-based unity of stakeholders in legitimate content is important, and noting that Hong Kong’s policy development process has dragged on for far too long. But the bill itself is no panacea. CASBAA’s Chief Policy Officer John Medeiros described it as “thin gruel” that will “do little or nothing to stem the rampant growth in online piracy of TV content in Hong Kong.” CASBAA urges the government to proceed rapidly to obtain enactment of this bill, and then move on rapidly to taking serious action to deal with the real problems of piracy in the digital age.

CASBAA joins other Hong Kong industry associations in an exchange of views with Hong Kong legislators from the IT sector.   On the left, IT Sector Representative Charles Mok, and Chief Policy Officer John Medeiros.  At right, directly-elected legislator Sin Chung-Kai.

CASBAA joins other Hong Kong industry associations in an exchange of views with Hong Kong legislators from the IT sector.   On the left, IT Sector Representative Charles Mok, and Chief Policy Officer John Medeiros.  At right, directly-elected legislator Sin Chung-Kai.

   

Australia Opens Consultation on Copyright in the Digital Economy

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 10:02

Australia’s Law Reform Commission is consulting the public about digital copyright issues.   The consultation paper includes a broad range of topics, including cloud computing, exceptions for libraries and others, statutory licenses and retransmission consent for FTA broadcasting.

Download the paper here

   

Broadcasters Affected by New Chinese Copyright Amendments

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 16:30

Member company Paul Weiss has produced a short briefing paper on provisions of new copyright amendments enacted in China that give broadcasting companies access to statutory licenses for material included in broadcasts (usually music).   Download the paper here.

   

Briefing Paper on the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty

Tuesday, 05 June 2012 18:20

The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) has produced a comprehensive Q & A paper to dispel common myths about the draft WIPO Broadcasting Treaty.   ABU and CASBAA are pushing for the July 2012 meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) to reach consensus on calling a Diplomatic Conference to move forward on the treaty, on the basis of a new draft proposed last year by Mexico and South Africa.  

Download the briefing paper here.

   

New Indian Copyright Law Includes Obligations, and some Benefits, for Broadcasters

Monday, 28 May 2012 09:18

Both Houses of India’s Parliament have passed the Copyright Amendment Bill 2010, which will be finally enacted when “notified” by the government.   The bill includes several provisions relevant to the broadcasting industry, including requiring broadcasters to pay royalties to owners of copyright each time their works (e.g. music) are broadcast.  The bill also allows television broadcasters to use statutory licenses (with government-fixed rates) to license music and sound recordings.  (Some music rights holders had demanded exorbitant rates in the past, or denied broadcast rights.)  Notably, proposals to allow parallel imports of copyright works were deleted from the bill before passage.   A short summary of the bill’s provisions can be found here.

   

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