An association of leading entertainment companies in Hong Kong has urged the territory’s government to pass the proposed Copyright (Amendment) Bill without further delay.
The Hong Kong Copyright Alliance held a meeting Sunday (Dec. 13) at which it said that the revised law was necessary to combat online piracy.
However, a press conference scheduled to be held after the meeting had to be cancelled. A group of opponents and Internet activists calling themselves Civic Passion who oppose the bill, attempted to join the HKCA press conference. Scuffles broke out and a security guard was reportedly knocked to the ground.
Tempers and tensions have been running high for several days over the proposed legislation.
The latest reading of the bill, scheduled for last Wednesday, was postponed when there was not a sufficient number of legislators in the chamber of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.
Several hours later a small device exploded outside the LegCo building, destroying a rubbish bin and knocking over railings.
The government says an update of the law is necessary to make the copyright ordinance “technology neutral” as the last version of the law dating back to 2006 still requires physical proof of copying.
Some opponents say that the bill will stifle free speech and have likened it to “Article 23” a piece of security that the Hong Kong government was forced to abandon after widespread street protests.
Others think that the proposed update to the copyright law is inadequate and already behind the times. Even the government seems to be close to admitting that.
On Saturday Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said that a bill encompassing all interests would be too large and cumbersome to be ever passed. He said that the government will seek a further revision to the Copyright Ordinance by 2020, albeit on condition that the current bill goes ahead.
The next attempt to advance the legislation will take place this coming Wednesday (Dec. 16) amid heightened security.
The Hong Kong Copyright Alliance has members from music, film, animation and TV including PCCW, Television Broadcasts (TVB), Time Warner, and 21st Century Fox, as well as a number of other trade associations.