The 2008 annual survey on public awareness of IP rights protection, commissioned by the IP Department of Hong Kong, has revealed increased awareness among the Hong Kong people of IP rights and the protection thereof. Over 95% of the surveyed group considered it necessary to protect IP rights in Hong Kong.
Over 50% of respondents considered that the measures imposed by the government during the last two years have helped to protect against IP rights infringement. The surveyed group also stated that they found it more difficult to buy pirated or counterfeit goods in Hong Kong compared to two years ago because there were fewer locations and sellers offering pirated or counterfeit goods for sale. In addition, the IP laws were being more strictly enforced. The majority considered that the most effective measures taken to reduce IP infringement in Hong Kong were:
- the raising of public awareness of IP rights protection;
- the improvement of education in this area;
- the increase of penalties;
- the lowering of prices of genuine goods; and
- the increase in government propaganda regarding IP rights.
Over 70% of those surveyed stated that they would not pay to download songs, films, games or ebooks from authorised websites, mainly because it was troublesome to purchase these items online. It seemed that the below-30 age group engaged more in copyright infringement compared to the older groups. The most commonly bought counterfeit goods were music CDs and film DVDs, followed by clothing, accessories and computer software.
The “No Fakes" pledge promoted by the IP Department of Hong Kong received much recognition in consolidating Hong Kong's position as a shoppers’ paradise and encouraging the public to respect IP rights. Promotional activities carried out by the department were considered effective in raising citizens' awareness of the need to protect IP rights, and there was consensus that the most effective way to promote IP rights protection was through television advertising.
It is encouraging to note that the government’s efforts have paid off and the public has become more aware of IP rights protection.
This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com