Updated copyright law to take effect

The Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 (Commencement) Notice was gazetted today and the amended ordinance will come into operation on May 1.


The Copyright Ordinance was updated to strengthen copyright protection in the digital environment, including the introduction of an exclusive technology-neutral communication right for copyright owners and criminal sanctions against infringements of the new right.


The amended ordinance also provides several new and expanded copyright exceptions to maintain a balance between copyright protection and reasonable use of copyright works.


The exceptions include allowing the use of copyright works in certain common Internet activities as well as facilitating online learning and the operation of libraries, museums and archives.


Additionally, there will be a “safe harbour” regime for incentivising online service providers (OSPs) to co-operate with copyright owners in combatting online piracy.


To tie in with the “safe harbour”, the Government gazetted a code of practice that provides guidance and procedures that OSPs may adopt upon being notified of online piracy on their service platforms in accordance with the regime.


The Customs & Excise Department will step up inspections and enforcement in co-operation with copyright owners upon the commencement of the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2022.


Depending on the circumstances and evidence of individual cases, the department will take enforcement action in accordance with the ordinance to further combat online piracy.