On 1 April 2001, the Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Amendment) Ordinance 2000 (the "Ordinance") came into effect. The Ordinance has been somewhat controversial as it amends, among other things, the Copyright Ordinance and the Copyright Piracy Ordinance.
The amendments to the Copyright Ordinance now make it an offence for any business (not just those whose business was dealing in infringing articles) to possess and use in the course of business infringing articles. The main aim of the Ordinance was to contain corporate end-user piracy activities, in particular the use of pirated software by businesses in Hong Kong. However, the criminal sanctions which it introduced do not catch only software piracy but also seemingly less "serious" acts of infringement such as making copies of newspaper articles and using them in the course of teaching.
In order to clarify and narrow the scope of the Ordinance, the Copyright (Suspension of Amendments) Bill 2001 was gazetted on 27 April 2001. This Bill proposes the suspension of the blanket criminal sanctions introduced by the Ordinance, with the exception of four categories of work to which these sanctions will continue to apply. These are movies, television drama, sound recordings of films and musical works and computer software.
The Amendment Bill proposes a suspension of the provisions of the Ordinance (with the exceptions mentioned) until 31 July 2002.
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