Major Speeches, Presentations and Press Releases

SCED's speech at cocktail reception of World Intellectual Property Day (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the cocktail reception for World Intellectual Property Day organised by the Intellectual Property Department today (April 20):

Ladies and gentlemen,

     A warm welcome to you all. Thank you for joining us this cosy evening to mark the upcoming World Intellectual Property (IP) Day on Sunday.

     The theme of this year's World IP Day is "Get up, stand up. For Music." A very befitting theme if one thinks about the importance of music in everyone's life. To many music and party lovers, a party without music is simply not a party at all. I hope you will all find today's party pleasing and entertaining with the music performances in store, while keeping all the party politics at bay.

     Music possesses unique powers. It soothes, it heals, it excites, it inspires, it motivates. Above all, it transcends all boundaries for it is the language of the universe. Music indeed is the most powerful and hearty creation we could have. To many of us in Hong Kong, music means more for the cultural, social and economic significance embedded in it. A chorus from a Cantonese opera or Cantopop will ring a bell and conjure a sense of Hongkongness at once. At the Asian Games, when Hong Kong athletes received gold medals against the background of the national anthem, there was a double sense of pride. And think about the music in movies, on television, in a live concert or in your smartphone - it is millions or even billions of dollars' worth of business.

     It is literally important to get up and stand up for music. Music is the output of creativity and mental labour. It should be properly protected to ensure that the creators receive fair rewards for their efforts. In Hong Kong, we have in place a robust protection and enforcement system for IP rights, including music copyright. Public education campaigns targeting our young generation are also regularly launched.

     To keep pace with technological developments, the Government introduced an amendment bill into the Legislative Council last year to update our copyright regime. A key proposal is the introduction of a new exclusive technology-neutral communication right so that rights owners would be in a better position to combat online infringement. With a number of new copyright exceptions to safeguard freedom of expression, we believe the bill, when enacted, will strike the right balance between copyright protection and reasonable use of copyright works. We count on the continued support of stakeholders like you to push for its early passage. It will be a milestone to reach. But we need to move beyond that, with another round of copyright review to maintain Hong Kong's edge as a competitive and advanced economy.

     Indeed, IP is the game changer in the knowledge-based economy today. The Government set up in 2013 a Working Group (Working Group on IP Trading) to advise on the overall strategy to promote Hong Kong as a premier IP trading hub in the region, and identify possible policies and measures in support. The Working Group released a report in late March with 28 recommended measures under four strategic areas. We are to:

* enhance the IP protection regime;
* support IP creation and exploitation;
* foster IP intermediary services and manpower capacity; and
* pursue promotion, education and external collaboration.

     The Government is working in full swing with the public sector and professional bodies, industry players and all other stakeholders to implement the recommended measures.

     IP trading and creative industries are two complementary areas in which Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages. I look forward to seeing new chemistry between the two. With a time-honoured robust IP regime in Hong Kong and an expanding creative economy globally, I am confident that our music industry will seize every opportunity to grow and thrive and bring us even more and better.

     I can see you can't wait to be rocked by our stellar performers tonight. Let's bring them in, and get up and stand up for music!

Monday, April 20, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:28