Overseas experience seems to suggest that a copyright exception modelled on the US system that is favoured by pan-democrat lawmakers could do more harm then good to the creative sector, according to Australian research. The study by consulting firm PwC said adopting “fair use” – which allows the use of copyright material for any purpose if it is deemed fair – could “create disincentives to create new original copyright works”. READ MORE: Hong Kong copyright bill explained: Why are people so concerned about this? Citing Canada, the study found the country’s education publishing sector saw its share of GDP decline by 16 per cent between 2011 and 2013 after Ottawa adopted the “fair use” concept in its copyright regime. The number of jobs in the education sector fell from 7,650 to 6,400. In Singapore, according to the study, its copyright industry revenue growth slowed from 14.16 per cent to about 6.68 per cent a year after the adoption of the “fair use” policy in the mid-2000s. The PwC research, submitted to the Australian government’s productivity commission, was commissioned by several copyrights owners’ and media groups in Australia. The Australian Law Reform Commission has recommended that the country’s copyright law be updated with the introduction of a “fair use” exception based on the US model. In Hong Kong, pan-democrats are fighting for a “fair use” exemption to be added to the copyright bill being debated in the legislature. They argue that it will protect “freedom of expression” and “creativity”, although the bill tabled by the government sets out “fair dealing” as an exception. “Fair use” provides for a sweeping and unified exception in general terms while “fair dealing” sets out more specific exceptions based on purpose of use. The Hong Kong Bar Association has expressed disagreement with the pan-democrats. “Fair use has been utilised in the United States for almost 40 years,” the Bar Association said in a statement on Wednesday. “Precedents in the United States have shown that satire and commenting on current affairs may not be exempted from infringement.” READ MORE: Four-way talks on Hong Kong copyright bill ends in hostility, paving way for further filibustering Pan-democrats say they will continue to filibuster the bill to force the government to accept their demands. The Hong Kong government attempted to update the copyright law in 2006. After years of discussions and consultation, the government came out with an amendment bill in 2011, which, however, eventually fell flat because some critics said the new law could gag freedom of expression. The government relaunched a public consultation in 2013 and compromise was reached after the government offered to give special exemption to political parody and “mash-ups” made from combinations of other works. A 2014 bill was introduced and gained an initial green light from pan-democrats. At that time, People Power’s Raymond Chan Chi-chuen said: “The earlier the law is passed, the earlier internet users can get better protection.” Chan is now a key opponent of the proposed law, and has vowed to use whatever means to block or delay its passage.