FAQ

Summary of FAQ

1 Is it necessary to apply for a manufacturer's licence if a CD-R or CD-RW writer is used for the copying or recording of data?
2 Could the requirement of marking the manufacturer's code on optical disc be exempted for CD-R production in Hong Kong?
3 What are the procedures for changing the particulars of a licensed optical disc manufacturer (such as change of licensee, company address etc.)?
4 What are the procedures for the import or export of Optical Disc Mastering and Replication Equipment (ODMRE)?
5 What are the procedures for importing or exporting VCD or CD-R?
6 Where can I obtain the information on the licensed optical disc factories?
7 What is the most effective way to uphold Hong Kong・s image as :Shopping Paradise for Genuine Goods;?
8 What are the maximum penalties under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance? What are the maximum penalties ruled by court?
9 What are the maximum penalties under the Copyright Ordinance? What are the maximum penalties ruled by court?
10 Are there any follow-up procedures after reporting to the Customs hotline?
11 What should I do if I encounter piracy or counterfeiting activities?
12 What are the measures adopted by Customs against fake food products (such as fake bird nests and soy source)?
13 What are Customs・ strategies in fight against counterfeiting activities?
14 What are the difficulties encountered by Customs in enforcement against Internet piracy?
15 What are the measures adopted by Customs in fighting against Internet piracy?
16 Is it illegal to bring mobile phones or digital cameras with recording functions into cinemas?
17 What is the current situation of pirated optical discs retailing in Hong Kong?
18 What are the achievements of the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Alliance (IPRPA) since its establishment on 22 March 2004? Has IPRPA expedited Customs・ enforcement actions?
19 How are the responsibilities on IPR protection divided among different government departments in Hong Kong?
20 What kinds of goods/articles are protected under Trade Descriptions Ordinance?
21 What kinds of goods/articles are protected under the Copyright Ordinance?
22 What IPR works are criminally protected in Hong Kong? Under what legislative frameworks?
23 What is intellectual property?



Question: Is it necessary to apply for a manufacturer's licence if a CD-R or CD-RW writer is used for the copying or recording of data?


Answer: Using CD-R or CD-RW writer for the copying or recording of data is not subject to control under the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance. A manufacturer's licence is thus not required. However, it is necessary to ensure that the copying or recording of data is authorized or lawful so as to avoid committing any offence under the Copyright Ordinance.

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Question: Could the requirement of marking the manufacturer's code on optical disc be exempted for CD-R production in Hong Kong?


Answer: According to the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance, a licensee must mark the assigned manufacturer's code onto every optical disc manufacturer by him. There is no exemption for CD-R or CD-RW production. Any failure to comply with the condition of marking the manufacturer's code is liable to prosecution.

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Question: What are the procedures for changing the particulars of a licensed optical disc manufacturer (such as change of licensee, company address etc.)?


Answer: If a licensee wishes to change any particulars set out in his application for a manufacturer's licence, please ask him to contact the Intellectual Property Rights Intelligence and Liaison Division at 2851 1625.

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Question: What are the procedures for the import or export of Optical Disc Mastering and Replication Equipment (ODMRE)?


Answer: Any person, who imports or exports ODMRE, must apply for an import or export licence by completing the stipulated forms (for import - use Form 3(TRA 187); export - use Form 6(TRA394)).

He must submit the respective application forms and the necessary supporting documents to the Intellectual Property Rights Licence and Liaison Division before the importation or exportation of ODMRE. Under normal circumstances, the licence can be issued within two working days.

The import/export licence form can be purchased at HK$26 and HK$16 respectively for twenty sets (in triplicate) at the following government offices: -

Trade and Industry Department at Room 813, 8/F, Trade Department Tower, 700 Nathan Road, Kowloon (Tel No. 2398 5325); and

Government Publication Centre at Queensway Government Offices, Lower Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong (Tel No. 2537 1910).

In respect of the Import Licence Form 3 (Supplement) and Export Licence Form 6 (Supplement), they can be obtained free of charge from the Intellectual Property Rights Licence and Liaison Division.

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Question: What are the procedures for importing or exporting VCD or CD-R?


Answer: At present, the import or export of optical discs, including VCD and CD-R, is not subject to any control. Nevertheless, an importer or exporter must lodge the trade declaration required under the Import and Export Ordinance.

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Question: Where can I obtain the information on the licensed optical disc factories?


Answer: According to section 31(2) of the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance, the Commissioner of Customs and Excise shall maintain a register on licensees for inspection by members of public. Including in the register are the name of licensee/company, manufacturing address, licence's valid period, assigned manufacturer's code and types of optical discs manufactured.

Members of the public can inspect the register during office hours at the Optical Disc Licence Division of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau. Photocopying services are also available to the public at the government standard fees.

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Question: What is the most effective way to uphold Hong Kong・s image as :Shopping Paradise for Genuine Goods;?


Answer: Being the enforcement agency of intellectual property laws in Hong Kong, we understand that infringing activities cannot be eradicated by vigorous enforcement actions alone. As long as there are demands for infringing goods, pirates and counterfeiters can still find niches to survive. The public must be educated to respect intellectual property rights and refrain from buying infringing goods. Moreover, the government has to establish a strategic partnership with the IPR industry in fight against these illegal activities. With the collaborated efforts of the IPR industry, the general public and the enforcement agencies, infringing activities can be eliminated and Hong Kong・s image as :Shopping Paradise for Genuine Goods; can be upheld.

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Question: What are the maximum penalties under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance? What are the maximum penalties ruled by court?


Answer: Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, anyone involved in the possession, supply or import/export of goods with false trade descriptions/ forged trade marks for commercial purposes is liable, upon conviction, for maximum imprisonment for 5 years and fine of HK$500,000

So far, the maximum imprisonment ruled by court is 27 months and the maximum fine is $0.4 million.

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Question: What are the maximum penalties under the Copyright Ordinance? What are the maximum penalties ruled by court?


Answer: Under the Copyright Ordinance, anyone who, without the authorization of the copyright owner, makes, sells, possesses or imports/exports an infringing copy of a copyright work for the purpose of, in the course of, or in connection with any trade or business; or distributes an infringing copy to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner (regardless of the purpose) is subject to maximum imprisonment for 4 years and fine of HK$50,000 for each infringing copy upon conviction. Anyone involved in the making, selling, possession or import/export of an article specifically designed or adapted for making copies of a particular copyright work for commercial purposes is subject to maximum imprisonment for 8 years and fine of HK$500,000.

So far, the maximum imprisonment ruled by court is 48months and the maximum fine is $1.98 million.

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Question: Are there any follow-up procedures after reporting to the Customs hotline?


Answer: Customs will commence investigation upon receiving reports of infringement. We will invite the informant to attend an interview at our office to obtain the necessary information. Due to the stringent requirements of criminal prosecution, we need the informant・s statement to effect a case. If there is sufficient evidence, enforcement actions will be taken.

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Question: What should I do if I encounter piracy or counterfeiting activities?


Answer: Members of the public may report any suspected infringing activities to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

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Question: What are the measures adopted by Customs against fake food products (such as fake bird nests and soy source)?


Answer: Since the problem of fake food products directly affect public health and living, Customs always handles this type of complaints with great care. Imminent investigations will be carried out whether the products are counterfeit or fake ones. Customs maintains close liaison with trademark owners to strengthen intelligence exchange. Samples will be forwarded to the Government Chemist for laboratory tests if necessary to determine whether the product will impose adverse effects on the human body and threaten consumers・ health. Customs works closely with related government departments such as the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Consumer Council to prevent the flow of fake food into the market and protect the health of the public.

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Question: What are Customs・ strategies in fight against counterfeiting activities?


Answer: Customs has been targeting hawkers, temporary stores and retail shops of counterfeit goods through repeated raids, seizure of counterfeit goods and prosecution. We also maintain close liaison with trademark owners in market monitoring, intelligence exchange, seizure identification and giving evidence in courts. Apart from the retail level, we also target at the manufacture, storage, wholesale and import/export levels so as to curb the source of counterfeit goods. To crack down on counterfeiting syndicates more effectively, besides strengthening the collection and exchange of intelligence, we often launch joint operations with the Hong Kong Police and other enforcement agencies.

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Question: What are the difficulties encountered by Customs in enforcement against Internet piracy?


Answer: As there are no boundaries in the cyberspace, investigations on Internet piracy are not without difficulties. Our investigators need to ascertain the location of the servers involved to determine the enforcement strategies. Also, infringers on the Internet often possess sophisticated computer skills and tend to evade Customs・ detection. Customs will continue to enhance investigators・ professional skills. However, efforts by the government alone are not sufficient to tackle the problem. Protection of intellectual property rights is also the responsibility of copyright owners, who can claim damages from infringers through civil proceedings under the prevailing legislation. In this connection, copyright owners are encouraged to take more initiatives and create a stronger deterrent effect.

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Question: What are the measures adopted by Customs in fighting against Internet piracy?


Answer: Customs established an Anti-Internet Piracy Team (AIPT) to fight against Internet-based infringement activities in 2000. To acquire skills on cyber crime investigation as well as gaining technical know-how in the area of computer forensics, AIPT members attended training courses at both local and overseas professional institutions. Besides, the team is equipped with the latest investigation tools and clandestine Internet access facilities with a view to detecting complicated Internet cases in the ever-changing digital world.@@Furthermore, a Computer Forensic Laboratory was set up to provide technical support to the AIPT, including forensic computing and the examination and preservation of digital evidence.

In order to strengthen enforcement against infringing activities on the Internet, especially the sale of counterfeit products at auction sites, Customs established the second AIPT in April 2005.

In view of the increasing trend of piracy activities through :peer-to-peer file sharing; (P2P) networks, Customs has commenced enforcement actions and 24-hour monitoring in this area. With the help of the copyright industry, in January 2005, Customs mounted the world・s first-ever successful operation against a BT uploader. Customs is working with other government departments, the copyright industry and Internet Service Providers (IPS) to explore ways to fight against this type of infringement activities more effectively.

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Question: Is it illegal to bring mobile phones or digital cameras with recording functions into cinemas?


Answer: Pursuant to the :Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance;, any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, has in his possession in a place of public entertainment any video recording equipment commits an offence. Possession of mobile phones for communication purpose in cinemas is regarded as a reasonable excuse and thus is not against the law. However, using mobile phones or digital cameras to make video recordings cannot be regarded as such and is therefore illegal.

After enactment of the law, Customs has not received any complaints regarding the use of mobile phones or digital cameras for illegal video recording in cinemas. Under the prevailing legislation, places of public entertainment can prohibit the entry of persons carrying video recording equipment, request them to leave the premises, or take any necessary measures to prevent illegal recording.

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Question: What is the current situation of pirated optical discs retailing in Hong Kong?


Answer: Under Customs・ persistent and focused raiding operations, the number of retail outlets of pirated optical discs dropped from 1000 in 1998 to below 70 in 2005. The circulation of pirated optical discs in the market also decreased from some five million to below 5000 in 2005, representing a reduction of 99.9%.@@Pirates are driven to adopt stealthy modus operandi, such as :self-service; at unmanned stalls and :pre-order sale; (i.e. customers pay first at the shops and collect the discs later at other locations by presenting their receipts) to sell small quantities of discs. Besides, these illicit outlets can only operate at short and irregular hours displaying a minimum quantity of discs on the premises to minimize loss.

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Question: What are the achievements of the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Alliance (IPRPA) since its establishment on 22 March 2004? Has IPRPA expedited Customs・ enforcement actions?


Answer: The establishment of IPRPA provides an effective communication channel between Customs and the IPR industry. By simplifying the investigation and prosecution process, it greatly shortens the case processing time and increases the efficiency and effectiveness of both sides when cracking down on various infringing activities. Through frequent intelligence exchange, Customs and the industry can achieve better synergy in detecting and fighting against piracy and counterfeiting activities. With the help of IPRPA members, the time required for verifying the copyright owner and authorized user in a case has been shortened from 8 weeks to 3-4 weeks. This demonstrates the achievement of the collaborative efforts of Customs and the industry as well as the substantial benefits of the establishment of IPRPA.

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Question: How are the responsibilities on IPR protection divided among different government departments in Hong Kong?


Answer: The Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau (CITB), advised by the Intellectual Property Department (IPD), is responsible for the policy and law making in relation to intellectual property rights protection in Hong Kong.

IPD is responsible for operating the Hong Kong SAR・s Trade Marks, Patents, Registered Designs and Copyright Licensing Bodies Registries, and for promoting intellectual property protection through public education.

The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) is responsible for enforcing the criminal aspects of infringement of intellectual property rights. It investigates complaints alleging infringement of trademarks and copyright and complaints alleging false trade descriptions. The department has extensive powers of search and seizure, and cooperates with overseas enforcement authorities and owners of trademarks and copyright in a concerted effort to combat infringement of intellectual property rights.

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Question: What kinds of goods/articles are protected under Trade Descriptions Ordinance?


Answer: Goods/articles with registered trademarks (excluding services) are protected under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. For details, please refer to the homepage of the Intellectual Property Department at -
http://www.ipd.gov.hk/eng/intellectual_property.htm

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Question: What kinds of goods/articles are protected under the Copyright Ordinance?


Answer: In general, copyright is the right given to the owner of an original work. This right can subsist in literary works such as books and computer software, musical works such as musical compositions, dramatic works such as plays, artistic works such as drawings, paintings and sculptures, sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programmes and the typographical arrangement of published editions of literary, dramatic or musical works, as well as performers' performances. Copyright works made available on the Internet environment are also protected.

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Question: What IPR works are criminally protected in Hong Kong? Under what legislative frameworks?


Answer: Copyright works and trademarks are criminally protected in Hong Kong. Relevant laws include the Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528), the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance (Cap. 544) and the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap. 362).

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Question: What is intellectual property?


Answer: Intellectual property is the name commonly given to a group of separate intangible property rights. These include trademarks, patents, copyright, designs, plant varieties and the layout design of integrated circuits.

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