Refined proposals on copyright protection in the digital environment

Taking into account the views received on the preliminary proposals published last year (for further details please see "Government moves to strengthen copyright protection in the digital environment") and the latest developments overseas, the government recently refined its proposals to enhance copyright protection in the digital environment. In amending the proposals, the government has tried to strike a balance between the interests of copyright owners, internet service providers (ISPs) and users. 

The refined proposals include:
  • recognising a copyright owner's right to communicate its works through any mode of electronic transmission, with criminal penalties for those who initiate the unauthorised communication of copyrighted works to the public in the course of for-profit business or where such works are communicated to such an extent as to prejudice the copyright owners;
  • introducing a statutory regime to define the circumstances under which ISPs' liability is limited and setting down a code of practice for ISPs to follow when notified of an act of piracy;
  • providing an exception for owners of non-infringing copies of a sound recording to make one copy of that recording on each device that they lawfully own for personal and domestic use;
  • providing an exception for such temporary reproduction of copyright works by ISPs as is technically necessary for the transmission process to function efficiently; and
  • prescribing additional factors to be taken into account by the courts when deciding on additional damages.

A bill incorporating these refined proposals is expected to be tabled before the Legislative Council in the second half of 2010.


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