INTERNATIONAL: Media monitoring licence to hit Hong Kong PR firms

HONG KONG: The HKSAR government has introduced a law starting this

month that prohibits the copying of newspaper articles for media

monitoring without a licence. The change is expected to add substantial

costs to the PR industry.



Under an amendment to the Intellectual Property Ordinance, the practice

of photocopying and clipping articles from newspapers will be outlawed

unless a copyright licence is obtained from the copyright owner.



The amendment affects both agencies monitoring client coverage and

internal departments monitoring for their own use.



Stephen Selby, HKSAR government director of intellectual property, said

all PR agencies and departments are required 'to get themselves in

order'.



'Providing copies of newspapers, even before 1 April, was an infringing

activity,' said Selby.



Several major newspapers are understood to be in discussions to form a

licensing body to handle the issue.



Selby said: 'I hope to see the new licensing scheme come into action. In

the meantime, they (PR agencies and departments) will have to apply for

copyright from the individual newspaper owners.'



Hong Kong Public Relations Professionals' Association president Linda

Tsui said the executive committee is preparing a response to the

legislation.



'The main problem will be cost. Our executive committee is exchanging

views on this,' said Tsui.



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