There is piracy of copyrighted materials... The most significant is commercial piracy, the unauthorized taking of other people's content within a commercial context. Despite the many justifications that are offered in its defense, this taking is wrong. No one should condone it, and the law should stop it. But...there is another kind of “taking” that is more directly related to the Internet. That taking, too, seems wrong to many, and it is wrong much of the times. Before we paint this taking “piracy,” however, we should understand its nature a bit more. For the harm of this taking is significantly more ambiguous than outright copying, and the law should account for that ambiguity, as it has so often done in the past.10
Intellectual property protection is an important part of Hong Kong's ICT environment, providing a framework that allows the effective development and exchange of digital content. The Internet and new communications technologies have posed serious challenges to copyright holders, but they have also created many new opportunities. If Hong Kong is to further develop its knowledge-based economy and become a regional hub for ICT (as compared to a hub for mere digital content), it needs to take advantage of the promise of the Internet and the opportunities innovation affords.11
While on the one hand recent court cases concerning digital copyright infringements have caused concerns in the user communities, there are also legitimate concerns from copyright owners who are being abused and whose assets are being pirated at will. In fact, the piracy problems of music, movies and software has not subsided in recent years, despite efforts by law enforcement and copyright owners.
And then there are the voices of the public grow to demand a more balanced copyright regime between the rights of the copyright holders, consumers and follow-on innovators. The Government has responded positively to including “format shifting” in its recent proposals for legislative amendments, in response to calls by users and ICT communities including Internet Society Hong Kong.
For years I have followed diligently the debate and legislative amendments concerning software and other copyright and recently supported the formation of Creative Commons Hong Kong. In order for Hong Kong to get a progressive copyright environment it deserves and needs for our digital future, I will:
* Continue to work with copyright owners, users and Government to balance their interests and come up with solutions that makes it easier for the copyright owners to target the genuine infringers through legal remedies, with minimal burden and liabilities on the online service providers, and without harming the legitimate and fair right of use by users and consumers. * Fight for legislative amendments to more effectively counter software piracy by business users, especially where relating to employee exemption and director liabilities; * Continue to support and launch in October Creative Commons Hong Kong, to facilitate more creative activities by all, through the use of “some rights reserved” copyright protection offered under CC; * Advocate the adoption of a true open source and free culture, and prevent the use of public fund in the development of so-called “open source” but proprietary software, in compliance with the spirit of the General Public License (GPL); * Urge Government to consult and release “government copyrighted materials” to public domain where appropriate, to facilitate more creative activities in Hong Kong;