Legislators give nod to parody law proposal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 4:37am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

Lawmakers have given an initial green light to revisions proposed by the government to the controversial copyright law that would protect political parody and "mash-ups" of various works.

At yesterday's commerce and industry panel meeting, members also urged the government to waste no time drafting the amendments and to table a bill to the council as soon as possible.

The government was forced in 2012 to ditch a bill seeking to amend the law after widespread concern that it would gag freedom of expression and creativity.

Compromise was reached after a four-month public consultation last year, in which the government offered to give "special treatment" to political parody.

Some have complained that not all kinds of "secondary creations" - which take existing copyrighted work as a basis to create something new - are recognised as "fair use" under the proposed amendment, meaning creators could still be sued for breach of copyright.

But many legislators declared themselves satisfied the revisions could balance copyright protection and freedom of expression.

Ma Fung-kwok, who represents the performing arts and culture sector in the legislature, urged the government to speed up redrafting of the law.

People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen said: "The earlier the law is passed, the earlier internet users can get better protection."

But Andrew Wong Ho-yuen, permanent secretary for commerce and economic development, said the government would take its time.

"There is no time frame [to pass the law]," he said.