Hong Kong Government Introduces Copyright Bill Providing a “Safe Harbor” for OSPs for Copyright Infringement

Today, the Hong Kong Government introduced the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 into the Legislative Council to revise Hong Kong’s copyright law so as to “keep pace with technological and overseas developments.”

One of the key proposals under the Bill includes a statutory “safe harbor” for Online Service Providers (OSPs). According to Clause 50 of the Bill, OSPs’ liability for copyright infringement occurring on their platforms could be limited when OSPs meet certain prescribed conditions, including the taking of reasonable steps to limit or stop copyright infringement when being notified. As stated by the spokesperson of the Hong Kong government, the proposal aims at facilitating OSPs’ handling of alleged infringements, balancing the interests between copyright holders and Internet users.

Although the amendment was drafted to strike a more appropriate balance favoring the remix culture, according to Peter Yu, the revised copyright bill is still a disappointment to most Internet users, considering the limited scope of fair-dealing exceptions that the government included in the bill, contrary to the results of an earlier public consultation.

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