HONG KONG: The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative
Region (HKSAR) has imposed a law prohibiting the copying of newspaper
articles for media monitoring without a license. The change, which took
effect April 1, is expected to cost the PR industry dearly.
Under an amendment to the Intellectual Property Ordinance, the practice
of photocopying and clipping articles from newspapers is outlawed unless
a license is obtained from the copyright owner.
The amendment affects both agencies monitoring the media for client
coverage and internal departments monitoring it for their own use.
Stephen Selby, the government of HKSAR's director of intellectual
property, said all PR agencies and departments are now required 'to get
themselves in order.' He continued, 'Providing copies of newspapers,
even before April 1, was an infringement.'
Several major newspapers are said to be discussing forming a licensing
body to handle the issue. 'I hope to see the new licensing scheme put
into action. In the meantime, a copyright from the individual newspaper
is needed,' said Selby.
Linda Tsui, president of the Hong Kong Public Relations Professionals'
Association, 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,' she said.