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Hong Kong copyright law

Copyright law in Hong Kong to a great extent follows the English model. The Basic Law of Hong Kong, its constitutional document, guarantees a high degree of autonomy and continuation of laws previously in force after its unification with Mainland China. Hong Kong therefore continues to maintain a separate intellectual property regime from Mainland China.

Copyright in Hong Kong under the Copyright Ordinance (Cap 528) is broken down into:

Copyright comes into existence at the same time as the creation: there is no formality of registration in Hong Kong.

The author of the work is deemed to be the person who creates the work (with exceptions for commissioned works and employee works). Subject to a few exceptions, copyright expires 50 years after the death of the author.

The Hong Kong legislation recognises moral rights ("droit d'auteur").

Controversial changes criminalising the copying of materials in the course of trade were introduced in 2000: in so far as they affect printed matter, these were quickly suspended following an outcry from educational groups and consumer groups. The suspension, provided in the Copyright (Suspension of Amendments) Ordinance 2001, will expire on July 31, 2004. Hong Kong is currently unique in the common law world for treating copying infringing materials differently between printed and non-printed materials.

Copyright laws are administered by the Intellectual Property Department of the Hong Kong Government.

See also: Hong Kong trademark law

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