Section 119B(1) of the Copyright Ordinance 2007, which is not yet in force, creates a new criminal offence applicable to four types of printed work. However, the new Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2009 sets down certain circumstances in which Section 119B(1) does not apply. Section 119B(1) of the Copyright Ordinance, introduced in July 2007 and yet to come into effect, creates a new criminal offence applicable to four types of printed work: books, newspapers, magazines and periodicals. Any business organisation or individual who in the course of his or her employment, without the authorisation of the copyright owner, carries out one of the following acts on a regular or frequent basis, which results in financial loss to the copyright owner commits an offence: 

  • making an infringing copy of a copyright work for distribution for the purpose or in the course of any trade or business; or 
  • distributing an infringing copy of a copyright work for distribution for the purpose or in the course of any trade or business.

The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2009, published in the Official Gazette on 24th April 2009, sets down the circumstances in which Section 119B(1) of the Copyright Ordinance does not apply, as follows: 

  • for magazines, periodicals (excluding academic journals) and newspapers, where the production or distribution involves no more than 500 A4-size pages of infringing copies of copyright works within any 14-day period. There is a prescribed formula for calculating the number of such pages; 
  • for books and academic journals, where the production or distribution involves no more than a total value of HK$6,000 of qualifying copies of copyright works within any 180-day period. There are detailed provisions on how to calculate the value of qualifying copies; 
  • where the distribution of an infringing copy is made through a wire or wireless network to which access is restricted by authentication or identification procedures; and 
  • where the infringing copy is embodied in a document that is distributed to an email address or fax number.

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