In November 2010 the Intellectual Property Department of Hong Kong (IPD) commissioned a survey on public awareness of IP rights protection. The IPD has carried out similar surveys since 1999, and the findings of the recent survey were consistent with those conducted previously.

The survey was answered by 1,005 persons, a response rate of 51.7%. The following key points emerged:

  • Over 97% considered that it is very or quite necessary to protect IP rights in Hong Kong.
  • Nearly 62% considered that the reasons for IP infringement activities are “cheaper prices for counterfeits” or “genuine goods being too expensive".
  • When it came to internet users, just under 30% claimed that they probably or definitely would pay to download songs, films, computer software, games or e-books from authorised sites – a rise of 21% from the last survey.
  • Only a low percentage of people were involved in copyright infringement by visiting unauthorised websites and downloading music, films, computer software, games or e-books for their own use or to share with friends, or downloading such works and uploading them to the Internet for the purpose of sharing.
  • Over 80% and over 70%, respectively, considered that the protection of IP rights could be helpful to the development of local creative industries and to the overall development of Hong Kong’s economy.
  • Only just under 15% could spontaneously recall that the IPD is responsible for promoting the protection of IP rights in Hong Kong.

The findings reflected that:

  • The majority of the public consider it necessary to protect IP rights in Hong Kong.
  • Such protection would be helpful to the development of local creative industries and Hong Kong’s economy.
  • The proportion of people involved in infringing activities has decreased.

However, only a relatively small percentage of people could recall the duties of the IPD. The government and the IPD may need to consider directing more resources towards educating the public and promoting awareness of IP rights protection.

This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com. in the author field