|Wednesday, 22 October 2014, 16:20 HKT/SGT|
HONG KONG, Oct 22, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - CASBAA, the Asia-Pacific Association of the pay-TV industry, has urged the Hong Kong legislature to end a decade of delay and pass amendments to Hong Kong's copyright law to give content creators and owners the right - at least in theory - to authorize electronic dissemination of their content.
At the same time, the Association - with membership including "globally-renowned broadcasters and news organizations with a strong vested interest in protecting creative and political expression" - said that worries that the amendments could represent "some sort of threat to free and open political expression" are off target. The comments came in a submission to the legislative committee considering the Amendments.
"Hong Kong citizens may have reasons to be concerned about protecting their rights of free expression from challenges, but the Copyright Amendments are not such a challenge," said CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter. "We are aware of no other copyright regime with exceptions and limitations that are more protective of freedom of political expression than the proposed Hong Kong approach, and we think that the Legislature needs to get on with the important business of passing this bill."
Chief Policy Officer John Medeiros noted that CASBAA - along with other copyright industry groups - has been pressing for improvements in Hong Kong's law for years. In the decade since the government began this process, he said, "the world of TV has been transformed. Old copyright laws never foresaw the degree to which broadband connections can be used to bring huge quantities of pirated digital content to every home in Hong Kong from places where copyright protection is weak."
As a result, CASBAA told the legislature, "the television industry in particular is already suffering huge harm from online piracy unrestrained by existing inadequate laws." Evidence is not hard to come by. The Association observed that the elevated levels and huge growth trend in online piracy are "plain to see for anyone with the will to have open eyes."
Medeiros noted that - even while it supports rapid passage of the legislation - the TV industry remains critical of the large weaknesses of the Amendment Bill. "Establishment of a right to authorize communication of copyrighted works will not solve the piracy problem," he said, and further steps are urgently needed. "Hong Kong is now way behind the curve," Medeiros added. The Amendment Bill will implement for the first time copyright treaties signed almost 20 years ago, and "it is an absolutely necessary first step," he said. In addition, CASBAA is urging the government to immediately begin considering further steps to restore balance and provide a new breath of life to Hong Kong's creative industries.
Established in 1991, Casbaa is the trade association for the video industry and ecosystem in Asia Pacific. It serves to make the video industry stronger and healthier through promoting the common interests of its members. Casbaa is the interlocutor for the industry with governments across the region, leads the fight against video piracy, publishes in depth reports and hosts conferences and seminars aimed to support a vibrant video industry. For more information, visit www.casbaa.com.
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