Half of HK internet users break copyright

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 April, 2010, 12:00am

Nearly half of local people admit they have engaged in illegal downloading and file sharing, a survey conducted by a copyright group has found.

But the survey, commissioned by the International Federation Against Copyright Theft - Greater China in October, also found most of the 858 respondents were willing to stop their activities if a gradual warning system was put in place.

The group is advocating the 'Graduated Response System' under which it will give the internet protocol address of a copyright infringer to the internet service provider, which would then issue notices to the user.

On the third offence, the ISP would slow down the user's download speed or temporarily cut services.

A total of 46.5 per cent of survey respondents said more than 50 per cent of their online downloads were done without the owner's permission. Some 57 per cent of people said they supported a graduated response system, while 71 per cent said they would be likely to stop illegal downloading if the system became fact.

The federation's executive director, Sam Ho Wai-hung, said the findings dispelled fears of a public backlash and privacy concerns over introducing more stringent legal safeguards against online copyright infringement.

At present, copyright owners must get a court order to demand disclosure of information from ISPs.

An amendment bill to the copyright law is expected to be handed to the legislature before the end of the year and the entertainment industry and the federation want to make it mandatory for ISPs to inform online copyright infringers of their offences as a warning, even without a court order.