Hong Kong – Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 Gazetted

Readers may recall that the Government of Hong Kong launched a 3-month consultation on updating Hong Kong’s copyright regime on 24 November 2021 (see here).  

Following this consultation, the Government reported that the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 was gazetted on 27 May 2022 (last Friday).  A copy of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 (“the Bill”) can be found here.  As expected, the Bill covers the following five key areas covered in the amendment bill 2014:-

  1. To introduce an exclusive technology-neutral communication right for copyright owners in light of technological developments; 
  2. To introduce criminal sanctions against infringements relating to the new communication right; 
  3. To revise and expand the scope of copyright exceptions to allow use of copyright works in certain common Internet activities (such as altered pictures and videos, streaming of video gameplay, and homemade videos); facilitate online learning and operation of libraries, archives and museums; and allow media shifting of sound recordings, etc;
  4. To introduce "safe harbour" provisions to provide incentives for online service providers to co-operate with copyright owners in combating online piracy and to provide reasonable protection for their acts; and
  5. To introduce two additional statutory factors for the court to consider when assessing whether to award additional damages to copyright owners in civil cases involving copyright infringements.

In a press release (here), the Government stated that the majority of respondents involved in the consultation agreed that there is an imminent need for Hong Kong to update the copyright regime and generally supported the Government’s key legislative proposals.  For further details on the responses collected in the consultation, readers can refer to the report compiled by the Intellectual Property Department for the Legislative Counsel (here).  All written submissions received during the consultation period have also been uploaded on the website of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (here).   

Before the Bill is enacted, it has to pass three readings in the Legislative Council.  The Bill will be introduced for first and second readings on 8 June 2022.  By way of background:-  

  • The first reading is simply the formal introduction of the Bill into the Council.  
  • The second reading takes place right after the first hearing, where the motion “the bill be read the second time” will need to be agreed upon.  It is normal for the debate on the Bill to be adjourned.  
  • If the motion for the second reading is agreed upon, the bill will be submitted to a “Committee of the whole Council” for examination and voting on clauses of the Bill.  If the report of the Committee of the whole Counsel is adopted, the Legislative Council is deemed to have ordered the bill to be set down for the third reading. 
  • At third reading, members may only deliver a short speech on whether the Bill should be supported.  If the motion on third reading is passed, the Bill completes its passage in the Legislative Council.  
  • A bill passed by the Legislative Council will take effect only after it is signed and promulgated by the Chief Executive.  
For more information on the legislative process of Hong Kong, readers may refer to the fact sheet prepared by the Legislative Council Secretariat Education Service Team (here) as well as the flowchart extracted below:- 

Hong Kong – Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 Gazetted Hong Kong – Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2022 Gazetted Reviewed by James Kwong on Thursday, June 02, 2022 Rating: 5

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