Parody makers who don’t profit get vote of support
If there is no financial gain there should be no legal responsibility, poll of internet users finds
Internet users want parody makers exempted from legal liabilities as long as they do not profit from creating their own versions of copyrighted material, an online survey has suggested.
More than half of the 647 poll participants opposed all three options raised by the government in a public consultation on how to protect parody makers.
The options include one that will shield them from prosecution unless their works cause "more than trivial" economic damage to copyright owners.
Luk Kwun-yu of Keyboard Frontline, a concern group set up by internet users, asked how "more than trivial" economic damage should be interpreted: "Does 'more than trivial' mean anything more than zero?"
The second option exempts parody makers from existing criminal offences as long as their works are not made for profit and do not cause the copyright owner economic damage. The third option spares them from both civil and criminal liabilities provided they meet "fair dealing" requirements, such as the degree of similarity to the original and whether it is not for profit, which would be decided by the courts.
The survey, conducted on the Golden Forum website at the end of last month, found that 56 per cent of respondents were not satisfied by any of these options, said Joe Lam Cho-shun, chief executive of the forum.
The internet users wanted more emphasis on one factor: whether the parody was produced for commercial purposes. If not, its maker should be spared legal liabilities, they said.
It would be easier to define "non-profit" than to satisfy "fair dealing" requirements, which were ambiguous in their scope, they said.
Veterans of the information technology industry and concern groups who attended a discussion forum yesterday urged the government to better define the terms listed in the consultation.
They suggested the government help match parody makers with copyright owners so that both sides could reach mutually beneficial solutions, and possibly allow them to share profits arising from parodies.
Internet service providers also wanted to be exempted from any legal responsibility arising from the comments or works of their users. The government agreed to extend the consultation to allow more time for discussion. It is due to end in mid-October. A new deadline has yet to be set.