Monday, December 21, 2015

Hong Kong netizens worry copyright bill will limit freedom of expression; Los Angeles Times, 12/19/15

Violet Law, Los Angeles Times; Hong Kong netizens worry copyright bill will limit freedom of expression:
"Gathering for a rally outside Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, with a banner nearby proclaiming, “Fight for the freedom of the next generation,” several hundred raised their voices against a copyright bill they say could further chill freedom of expression in the semiautonomous Chinese territory.
Protesters said they fear the legislation could be wielded as a tool of political prosecution against those who use memes to mock politicians, and even expose them to criminal charges...
In recent years, Hong Kong has sprouted an online parody subculture, as disaffected local netizens lampoon officials and criticize government policies by repurposing pop songs or doctoring screen grabs.
The new bill carries exemptions for caricature, parody, pastiche, satire, news reporting and commentary. It also requires those who repurpose others’ material to cite the source of the original work and obtain permission from copyright owners.
Opponents say the requirement puts too heavy a burden on authors of derivative works and would leave them vulnerable to civil liabilities and criminal charges. Opponents of the legislation are also pressuring lawmakers to amend the bill to exempt fair use, as is the case under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the U.S., or all user-generated content, a concept pioneered in Canada’s copyright law, saying these laws afford users the impunity to exercise their freedom of expression."

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