Watching Paid TV for Free?

The drama craze and football fever had increased the popularity of set-top boxes, sold at the cost of a few hundred Hong Kong dollars and easy to use. Users can simply connect the box to a TV to enjoy television dramas, sports and even real-time broadcasts from different countries.

Problems arise when set-top boxes are jail broken by sellers, permitting access to unauthorized content. Users and sellers should beware of the potential copyright issues arising from such use.

Public exhibition or the distribution of unauthorized content gives rise to potential liabilities under the Copyright Ordinance. Copyright owners may commence civil actions against the infringer for damages or an account for profits and injunctions. Criminal penalties for trading in infringing copyright work can result in a maximum penalty of HKD50,000 per infringing copy and imprisonment for four years.

Hong Kong has copyright laws regarding the circumvention of effective technological measures. It is a criminal offence to sell or to hire out a jail broken set-top box, which upon conviction can lead to a hefty fine of HKD500,000 and four years in prison.

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