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Copying and distribution offence and related numeric limits to come into operation

     The Government today (May 20) gazetted the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2007 (Commencement) Notice 2010.  The Notice specifies July 16, 2010, as the date on which the provisions relating to the copying and distribution offence will come into operation.  

     The copying and distribution offence was added to the Copyright Ordinance in June 2007.  A person commits an offence if he, for the purpose of or in the course of any trade or business and on a regular or frequent basis, without the licence of the copyright owner, makes for distribution or distributes an infringing copy of a copyright work in a printed form contained in a book, a magazine, a periodical or a newspaper resulting in a financial loss to the copyright owner.

     To prevent inadvertent breaches, the Government has prescribed, under the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2009 passed in November 2009, two sets of numeric limits for different categories of printed works.  The offence does not apply if the extent of making or distribution of infringing copies does not exceed the numeric limits prescribed in the law, as summarised below :

(a)  for newspapers, magazines and periodicals (excluding academic journals), a maximum of 500 A4-size pages embodying infringing copies of copyright works within any 14-day period; and

(b)  for books and academic journals, a maximum total retail value of $6,000 within any 180-day period, where the retail value of a book (or an academic journal) or an article in an academic journal would be counted towards the total retail value when the user makes for distribution or distributes infringing copies of more than 25% of the number of pages of the book (or the academic journal), or makes for distribution or distributes infringing copies of a complete copy of the article.

     The provisions relating to the numeric limits will come into operation on the same day (July 16, 2010).  

     Business end-users are reminded that while the copying and distribution offence will not apply if the extent of copying or distribution is within the prescribed limits, they remain liable to civil claims from copyright owners if they make for distribution or distribute copies of printed copyright works without an appropriate licence.

Ends/Thursday, May 20, 2010
Issued at HKT 10:11


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