The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has issued "The Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Amendment) Ordinance 2000" which contains an amendment to the Copyright Ordinance and the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance. This amended law is necessary because the Government of Hong Kong is intent on cleaning up the act of using copyright infringing products in business which has become a serious problem in Hong Kong. This amended law will become effective on 1 April 2001.
To assist University departments to comply with the amended Ordinance, Computer Centre has circulated a letter to all department heads and an email notice to all staff and students about guidelines on administering their software licences in accordance with legal requirements.
The government's website for publicising this amendment is at http://www.info.gov.hk/cib/ehtml/news.html
Be sure to browse the FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) which contain many good examples and "what...if" scenarios for different kinds of circumstances to illustrate clearly what would constitute an offense after the amendment takes effect especially in ambiguous situations which were not spelt out in the law before the amendment.
For a quick reference on using properly licensed computer software, the following guidelines have been copied from the government's website:
Let us start to comply with this amended law by reviewing the software in your computer at work. Get rid of any software without a license before April 1, 2001. If you are not sure whether a certain software has a valid license, then ask your network administrator or your computer vendor.
- Generally do not buy from unlicensed hawkers or temporary premises. Distributors of copyright works do not normally authorize such places to sell their products.
- By all means seek the best price for the product; but if the price is no more than a fraction of the price for which an authorized version of the product is normally sold, this is an indication that the copy may be pirated. If in doubt, approach the copyright owner for additional information.
- If you are purchasing computer software for your business, get a set for each computer that will run the software, or purchase an appropriate network software license.
- Carefully study the licensing conditions to ensure that the software installed in your computers is properly licensed for use in your business.
- Conduct periodic software auditing to ensure that only properly licensed computer software has been installed in any computer in your office.
- Obtain licences from the copyright owners if you need to make copies of copyright works for your business.
- Ensure that all employees in your office are fully aware of the company's policy and practice on the use of computer software and copying of copyright works.
- Do not play music or video for your business using pirated CDs, DVDs, VCDs or videotapes.
- Do not use photocopies of books, magazines or newspapers for your business without proper licence from the relevant copyright owners.
- If you are an employee, do not, in carrying out your business duties, use goods or products that you know or have reason to believe are infringing copies of copyright works, e.g. pirated computer software.
- Read the terms of the licensing agreements carefully to understand your rights and obligations.
This material is taken from "Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2000 Frequently Asked Questions" 2001 and is used with the permission of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Tel: 2859 8934