The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 (the “Bill”) was introduced into the Legislative Council in June 2015 to update Hong Kong’s copyright regime. It has attracted much debate inside the Legislative Council, as well as sparked considerable arguments amongst members of the community. The most controversial topics are:
(1) the adoption of the American open-ended fair use exception instead of the specific fair dealing exceptions, which has been used for a long time;
(2) the addition of a user-generated content exception; and
(3) the addition of an express provision to disallow contract override.
The Law Society considers that much of the discussions on the Bill have been shrouded by misconceptions on the above topics. With the assistance of the Intellectual Property Committee, the Law Society issued a position paper on the Bill (“Position Paper”) (in English) on 29 December 2015, and an abridged version (in Chinese) on 28January 2016.
The Position Paper sets out the Law Society’s views and positions on the above topics. The Law Society supports the passing of the Bill without further delay. It also urges the setting of a timetable to further discuss and listen to the views of stakeholders on these controversial topics to ensure Hong Kong’s copyright regime is updated in a timely fashion.
The Position Paper can be viewed at http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/pub_e/news/submissions/20151229.pdf (English) and the abridged version in Chinese at http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/pub_e/news/press/20160128.asp.