You Must Know About Copyright:

Copyright is a form of property rights. It protects the way authors express themselves. If a person owns the copyright of a work, the person will have the exclusive right to carry out certain acts in respect of the work, most importantly, to copy and exploit (e.g. sell) the work, and to prevent others from copying or exploiting the work without authority.

In Hong Kong , copyright is governed by the Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528 of the Laws of Hong Kong) under which only the following nine categories of works enjoy copyright.

Categories of Copyright:

  1. literary works such as books, pamphlets, computer programs and other works consisting of text
  2. dramatic works such as motion picture films, plays, screenplays and scripts
  3. musical works such as compositions with or without words
  4. artistic works such as paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and plans
  5. a performance of an artistic, dramatic or musical work, whether or not the work was previously recorded and whether or not the work’s term of copyright protection has expired
  6. a recitation or reading of a literary work, whether or not the work’s term of copyright protection has expired
  7. an improvisation of a dramatic, musical or literary work, whether or not the improvised work is based on a pre-existing work
  8. sound recordings, meaning recordings consisting of sounds, whether or not a performance of a work, but excluding any soundtrack of a cinematographic work where it accompanies the cinematographic work
  9. communication signals, meaning radio waves transmitted through space without any artificial guide, for reception by the public

How long does copyright last?

The basic rule is that copyright lasts for the life span of the author plus 50 years.

Is my copyright valid in other countries?

Yes, if the country is a member of an international copyright convention, treaty or organisation to which Hong Kong also belongs. These include the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Geneva Convention for the protection of producers of phonograms, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS). Most countries in the world are members of these conventions, organisations or treaties.

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