Speeches and Presentations

SCED speaks on public consultation on treatment of parody under copyright regime

Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, to the media on the public consultation on treatment of parody under the copyright regime today (July 11):

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: Now I would like to say a few words in English. To keep pace with the rapid development in our knowledge-based economy, we keep our copyright regime under regular review to ensure that it continues to evolve and serve the best interest of Hong Kong.

With technological advancements, parody is now commonly seen on the Internet. We note that there is a wide range of views on the subject of parody and we have really been carefully considering these views. At the same time, we also made reference to the latest discussions and developments overseas, particularly those with common law jurisdiction systems.

The consultation document to be issued later on today contains three options regarding the treatment of parody, including exemption from criminal and civil liability, together with the relevant considerations, for the society to discuss. The aim of the consultation exercise is to explore how our copyright regime should give due regard to present day circumstances while maintaining a balance between copyright protection and freedom of expression and how we take care of parody appropriately.

Key issues relating to parody, including the concept of parody, different views that exist in our society, current situation in Hong Kong and some other jurisdictions are also set out in details in the consultation.

We maintain an open mind towards the three options and welcome views from the public.

The objectives of the consultation exercise are to build consensus in the community, and to enable us to identify an option which serves the best interest of Hong Kong.

We will carefully consider the views to be collected during the consultation period, before we take a policy view on how parody should be treated.

Reporter: Can you explain the definition of what parody is ......

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: This consultation is really in the framework of the existing regulatory legislative regime. What we are talking about is really the non-commercial and trading activities, kind of a parody, I think by a common understanding, is not in the context of business. Within that confine, how do we balance interest of the copyright owners and yet give effect to freedom of expression. Under this regime, we are now floating this consultation exercise with an open mind, and in floating the three options, under two of which will allow clarity, as well as the exemption - in option two from criminal liability, and in option three, even civil liability will be exempted if it falls within the fair dealing exception. We have an open mind in this and I think these options are set up or proposed in view of the international development. We hope the stakeholders in Hong Kong will actively give us their opinion so that we can gather all this opinion to have a way forward, that would be in the best interest of Hong Kong.

Reporter: ...... can you give us some details of fair dealing?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: As I explained in Chinese earlier, under the Copyright Ordinance that we have right now, under sections 38 and 41A, there is already fair dealing exception for certain categories, for example, for research and study, freedom of news reporting, you would have a fair dealing exception already. But, there is no category right now under fair dealing for parody. Option three is to give fair dealing exception for parody as well. And for what criteria and under what circumstances would parody be considered qualified for fair dealing exception, we can look at sections 38 and 41A, we are also open-minded if people believe that we should have more criteria to be considered specifically for parody under fair dealing. We keep an open mind in this and we welcome your opinion.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013