27 February 2016, the Hong Kong government placed an advertisement in some Hong Kong newspapers, including the Oriental Daily (東方日報) to advocate the adoption of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014, next week. The Hong Kong government has chosen this surprising method to advocate the passing of the bill, and blaming the Pan-Democrats in the process for the delays. Let us see whether this “government by advertisements” will be effective. My prediction is that the bill will be withdrawn by Friday.
Here is a translation of the text of the advertisement:
“The Government appeals to LegCo (Legislative Council) in the overall interests of Hong Kong, for the timely adoption of the draft amendment of the Copyright Ordinance!
The objective fact is that:
(1.) after 16 months and 24 carefully held meetings on the draft by members of the current LegCo Council Bills Committee which were considered eligible members who support the resumption of the Second Reading of the bill.
(2.) The Legislative Assembly decided to resume the Second Reading of the draft, was to be held in 7 meetings, of which five times they were discontinued.
(3.) In the last more than two months, the Council of the General Assembly spent 75 hours, 55 hours was spent on headcounts requested by Pan-Democratic members or proposed suspensions and adjournments of the debate.
(4.) A draft is provided that is better than the current legislation to protect intellectual property rights and is supported by copyright holders, the Bar Association and the Law Society, Hong Kong’s economic and commercial development is essential.
(5.) The draft of the copyright exemption provides more user protection.
(6.) Due to the Pan-Democrats continued filibustering, the Legislative Council has now a backlog of six government bills and resolutions, while the current legislative session has less than five months to go. The Legislative Assembly shall be expected to handle up to a total of 28 Bills, covering a wide range of social, economic and livelihood issues.
The Government hereby urges the Legislative Council in the overall interest of Hong Kong, to timely adopt the draft amendments to the Copyright Ordinance!
The Legislative Assembly has next week still two days and a half to consider the draft. If the debate will not be completed, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development will propose an adjournment motion on March 4, Friday, to withdraw the Bill.
Commerce and Economic Development Bureau.”
Yours truly answered some questions about the bill, that is not as bad as the opponents like us to believe and not as good as the proponents like us to believe, to the press, see here. Also I wrote an opinion piece about it for the South China Morning Post, see here.