Copyright owners get right to redress
Rules are tightened on the renting of films and comics
Copyright owners of films and comic books will be able to seek compensation for loss of revenue from unauthorised rental outlets after planned changes to the Copyright Ordinance.
Legislative amendments to the ordinance will be gazetted today and tabled in the Legislative Council on March 29, the government said yesterday.
Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology Joseph Wong Wing-ping said the introduction of rental rights for films and comic books will allow copyright owners to obtain civil remedies against unauthorised rentals.
The Copyright Tribunal's jurisdiction will be expanded to cover licences regarding renting of films and comic books.
But the new rights will not apply to those who have acquired stocks for rental before implementation of the amendment.
The bill proposes that company directors or partners responsible for internal management would be criminally liable for copyright infringement committed by their companies. Defence provisions would be offered to employees who are not in a position to make or influence a decision on such action.
The public will not be held criminally liable if they remove technological measures designed to prevent access to parallel import copies or the recording of a broadcast or cable programme.
Mr Wong said the government had been facing a tough balancing act on the issue.
'Copyright owners demand stronger protection through the introduction of new civil and criminal sanctions,' he said.
'But the public and business users are wary of criminal sanctions for fear they would hinder dissemination of information and their legitimate use of copyrighted works.'