The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Tuesday proposed amending the law to impose criminal sanctions against initiating unauthorized communication of copyright works through electronic transmission.
Under the proposed amendment, it would be a criminal act to initiate unauthorized communication of copyright works to the public "for profit or where it is made to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owners," Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Yvonne Choi said in a briefing.
The refined proposals were aimed at upgrading copyright protection in the digital environment, Choi said, adding that the HKSAR government has been trying to strike a balance among the interests of copyright owners, users and online service providers.
Public consultation on copyright protection in the digital environment started in Hong Kong in 2006, with preliminary proposals released in 2008. The refined proposals were expected to be submitted to the Legislative Council in the second half of 2010.
The refined proposals also include possible additional damages in recognition of the difficulties in proving the extent of actual loss, particularly in the digital environment.
A statutory regime will also be introduced to make clear the circumstances under which online service providers' liability will be limited.
There is a proposed exception for the owners of a copy of sound recording to make one copy in the devices they own for private and domestic use.