Journalist claims the government's promotional arm used her material without getting permission The government's investment promotional body is being sued for $50,000 by a freelance journalist who claims it breached her copyright in a brochure used to encourage foreign investment in Hong Kong. Merle Linda Wolin, sole proprietor of East West Productions, told the Small Claims Tribunal yesterday that she was seeking $35,000 relating to the production of a six-page brochure on venture capital, which used text and the design of other brochures she produced for InvestHK. She is also seeking $15,000 in additional compensation. She said InvestHK had initially verbally agreed to pay her media company $8,000 for the text and design of each of seven brochures prepared early last year. But Ms Wolin alleged that an eighth brochure, about insurance, had been printed without her company's permission. Negotiations about payment for the insurance brochure were held with InvestHK from July to November last year, ending with Ms Wolin's agreement to accept $30,000 in exchange for assigning copyright to the government agency. But she told the tribunal that it was only after signing the deal on November 6 that she discovered that a ninth brochure, on venture capital, had already been printed without her permission. Deputy adjudicator Clement Lee Hing-nin, said Ms Wolin's case boiled down to determining whether the copyright assignment embraced the venture capital brochure. Simon Galpin, associate director-general of InvestHK, told the tribunal that the agency thought all along that it owned copyright for the text and design of Ms Wolin's work on the brochures. But when the department found that it did not have a written agreement on copyright, negotiations resulted in a fee of $30,000 in exchange for the 'full copyright' assignment deal on November 6. He said the brochure on venture capital was covered by the agreement, as 'the assignment transfers the copyright retrospectively'. He said the brochure on venture capital was produced in June 2002 after the department ran out of copies of an earlier version. Mr Galpin said he had simply forgotten to remind Ms Wolin about its existence during the negotiations. 'We adopted the same style of the other brochures and used some of the text that Ms Wolin used for the other brochures,' he said, adding that 30 per cent of the text might have been lifted from the other brochures. However, he said the copyright deal covered all other brochures that InvestHK would produce and that Ms Wolin's text and designs could be used for whatever purpose and in whatever format that it saw fit. This might include TV ads, billboards, or other brochures, Mr Galpin said. But Ms Wolin argued that the alleged use of her work in the ninth brochure 'goes beyond picking up a few words here and there. It goes into copyright infringement of text and design'. She said she had repeatedly asked how many other brochures had been printed without her permission and was told that only the insurance brochure had been produced using her text. 'We had asked [before the November 6 deal] that all copies of the pirated insurance brochures be recalled and destroyed. 'We wanted to send a message that copyright infringement is a serious offence,' said Ms Wolin. The hearing was adjourned to August 13. Ms Wolin, a former CNBC producer, also acted as a project manager on the production of the brochures and her firm printed some of the brochures for the government's high-profile agency. InvestHK is headed by the director-general of investment promotion, Mike Rowse.