(Please scroll down for English version)

(編按:立法會今天續議俗稱「網絡23條」的《2014年版權(修訂) 條例草案》,開始審議由多位泛民議員提出的修正案。律師組織「法政匯思」發表聲明,支持加入「有限度公平使用」的修正,全文如下。)


【法政匯思就有關郭榮鏗、莫乃光及梁繼昌議員於《2014年版權(修訂) 條例草案》下提出「有限度公平使用」修正案之聲明】

法政匯思就郭榮鏗、莫乃光及梁繼昌議員於《2014年版權(修訂) 條例草案》下提出「有限度公平使用」修正案有以下回應:

1. 於2016年 2月 29 日,郭榮鏗、莫乃光及梁繼昌議員於《2014年版權(修訂) 條例草案》下提出「有限度公平使用」修正案(下稱「有限度公平使用」)。有關修正案與新加坡版權法第 35條及第 109條下的「公平處理」十分類似,但又各有相似及不同之處:

(a) 限制適用範圍

正如「有限度公平使用」的條款 (1) ,有關豁免只適用於版權修訂條例 2014草案下的「公平處理」豁免以外的作品使用。簡言之,如現有「公平處理」豁免適用,「有限度公平使用」則不適用,限制了「有限度公平使用」的適用範圍。

(b) 限制作品類型

正如大律師公會於 2016 年 2 月17 日的立場書第26 段指:「新加坡採用的制度雖名為「公平處理」,但實質上是「公平使用」,應用在特定類型的作品上,例如文學作品、戲劇作品、音樂作品、藝術作品和視聽作品。」



(c) 限制作品目的


2. 誠然,「有限度公平使用」的適用範圍與新加坡式的「公平使用」有所不同,但《2014年版權(修訂) 條例草案》新增了6 個「公平處理」的豁免,較新加坡版權法下的「公平處理」豁免為多。

3. 因此,法政匯思認為如《2014年版權(修訂) 條例草案》加入「有限度公平使用」後能為用戶及網民提供足夠保障之餘,亦能釋除版權持有人對「公平使用」適用範圍過闊的疑慮。

4. 同時,法政匯思留意到版權持有人認為如採納「公平使用」,《2014年版權(修訂) 條例草案》就必須加入更嚴厲的條款,如定額罰款。由於「有限度公平使用」比美國式「公平使用」,甚至可能比新加坡限制式「公平使用」的適用範圍更窄及更有限制,因此,我們認為現階段無須考慮加入其他更嚴厲的條款。

5. 但版權持有人如仍對「有限度公平使用」存疑,法政匯思建議可在「有限度公平使用」下加入日落條款,在指定年期後全面檢討「有限度公平使用」。

6. 最後,不論是保障用戶權利或是版權持有人的利益,香港版權法都落後於世界各地。為免再添社會上不必要爭端,法政匯思呼籲各方理性討論及接納「有限度公平使用」方案。

2016年3月2 日

(原文載於 2016 年 3 月 2 日《立場新聞》)

Statement of the Progressive Lawyers Group in response to the proposed “limited fair use” amendment to the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 put forward by the Hon. Dennis Kwok, Hon. Charles Mok and Hon. Kenneth Leung

The Progressive Lawyers Group (“PLG”) makes the following reply on the proposed “limited fair use” amendment to the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 put forward by the Hon. Dennis Kwok, Hon. Charles Mok and Hon. Kenneth Leung:-

1. On 29 February 2016, the Hon. Dennis Kwok, Hon. Charles Mok and Hon. Kenneth Leung proposed a “limited fair use” amendment (“Limited Fair Use”) to the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014.  The said amendment is very similar to the provisions regarding “fair dealing” under sections 35 and 109 of the Singapore Copyright Act with the following similar but different aspects:-

(a) Restriction on the Scope of Application
As stated in the proviso under subsection (1) of the “Limited Fair Use” provisions, the relevant exemptions are only applicable to works which fall outside the scope of “fair dealing” exemptions under the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014.  In short, “Limited Fair Use” would not be applicable where the existing “fair dealing” exemptions apply.  This restricts the scope of application of the “Limited Fair Use”.

(b) Restriction on the Types of Works
As set out under Paragraph 26 of the Hong Kong Bar Association’s Position Paper dated 17 February 2016:

 “The system adopted in Singapore is labeled as a ‘fair dealing’ regime, but is in nature a fair use test applied to specific closed categories of works, such as literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, and audio-visual items.”

In addition to the above mentioned categories, “fair use” under the Singaporean regime also covered adapted literary works, adapted dramatic works and adapted musical works.

Notwithstanding the inclusion of “performance” and “fixation” under the exempted categories, the three categories of adapted works recognized as “fair use” in Singapore were not included.  Therefore the types of exempted works under the “Limited Fair Use” concept is in fact less than those exempted under the Singaporean “fair use” regime.

(c) Restrictions on the Purposes of the Works
In deciding whether the use of new works is “fair” under the Singaporean regime, one has to consider whether such use is of a “non-commercial nature” or is for “non-profit educational purposes”.  By contrast, under the Limited Fair Use” concept, the factors of whether the new works are for “non-commercial” and “non-profit making” purposes have to be both considered.  The Court has to take both purposes into consideration, unlike the Singaporean “fair use” regime where only one out of two purposes are to be considered.  Therefore, the “Limited Fair Use” concept can be said to be more stringent than the Singaporean regime in terms of restricting the purposes of the works.      

2. Although the scope of the “Limited Fair Use” concept is different from “fair use” under Singapore law, six additional fair dealing exemptions were introduced into the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014, which is a greater number of exemptions compared to that under the Singapore Copyright Act.

3. Therefore, the PLG considers that adopting the concept of “Limited Fair Use” in the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 not only provides sufficient safeguards to users and netizens, but also assuages concerns of copyright holders that the scope of “fair use” is too broad.

4. At the same time, the PLG notes the copyright holders’ position that if “fair use” is adopted, stricter provisions such as statutory penalties must be introduced into the Copying (Amendment) Bill 2014. Our view is that given “Limited Fair Use” is more restrictive and narrower in scope to “fair use” under US law and arguably even “fair use” under Singapore law, at this stage it is unnecessary to consider including stricter provisions.

5. If copyright holders continue to have concerns on the adoption of “Limited Fair Use”, the PLG suggests that sunset provisions requiring a comprehensive review after a fixed period of time be introduced in relation to “Limited Fair Use”.

6. Finally, Hong Kong’s copyright law is behind other jurisdictions in terms of both safeguards to users and rights afforded to copyright holders. To avoid further adding to unnecessary conflicts within society, the PLG calls upon all parties to engage in rational discussion and accept the “Limited Fair Use” proposal.

Progressive Lawyers Group
March 2, 2016

Statement originally appeared in The Stand News on 2 March 2016.