Hong Kong Considers Significant Changes to Parody Under Copyright Law

In July 2013, the Hong Kong Government commenced a three month public consultation on three options to deal with parody under Hong Kong copyright law. One of the options was the introduction of a fair dealing exception for parody under Hong Kong copyright law, where the “distribution and communication of parody will not attract any civil or criminal liability if the qualifying conditions for exception are met.”

In December 2013, the Hong Kong Government issued a report summarizing various views submitted by copyright owners, copyright users and the general public in response to the public consultation. Many copyright owners submitted views that a fair dealing exception for parody was unnecessary to balance the protection of intellectual property rights and freedom of expression, for example, because there are already fair dealing defenses under the present Copyright Ordinance, and copyright owners have implemented various licensing systems. Some copyright owners submitted concerns that the exception might limit the copyright owners’ control and rights over copyright work. On the other hand, some copyright users supported the exemption of civil and criminal liabilities to protect freedom of speech, expression and creativity. Some online service providers commented that the exception should expressly refer to parody, satire, caricature and pastiche to reduce uncertainty as to the coverage of the copyright exception.

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