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This section provides an overview of copyright rules of China's special administrative region of Hong Kong relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in Hong Kong must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both Hong Kong and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from Hong Kong, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.

Governing laws

Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842. It was transferred back to China on 1 July 1997 as a special administrative region, with a separate system of government and legal system from mainland China.

Hong Kong has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed Copyright Ordinance (Chapter 528) (consolidated version of May 27, 2016) as the main copyright law enacted by the legislature of Hong Kong.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2] The Hong Hong eLegislation site also holds English and Traditional Chinese versions.[3][4]

General

According to the Copyright Ordinance (Chapter 528) (consolidated version of May 27, 2016),

  • Copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work generally expires at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies.[528/2016 Section 17(2)]
  • If the work is of unknown authorship, copyright expires at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first made; or if during that period the work is made available to the public, at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is first so made available.[528/2016 Section 17(3)]
  • If the work is computer-generated copyright expires at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made.[528/2016 Section 17(6)]
  • With a work of joint authorship, the term is calculated from the year of death of the last surviving known author.[528/2016 Section 17(7)]
  • The above does not apply to Government copyright or Legislative Council copyright (see sections 182 to 184) or to copyright which subsists by virtue of section 188 (copyright of certain international organizations).[528/2016 Section 17(8)]
  • Copyright in a sound recording expires at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is made; or if during that period it is released, 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is released.[528/2016 Section 18(2)]
  • Copyright in a film expires at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the death occurs of the last to die of the following persons (a) the principal director; (b) the author of the screenplay; (c) the author of the dialogue; or (d) the composer of music specially created for and used in the film.[528/2016 Section 19(2)]

Government copyright

According to the Copyright Ordinance (Chapter 528) (consolidated version of May 27, 2016),

  • Where a work is made by an officer of the Government in the course of his duties the work qualifies for copyright protection and the Government is the first owner of any copyright in the work.[528/2016 Section 182(1)]
  • Government copyright in a work continues to subsist (a) until the end of the period of 125 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made; or (b) if the work is published commercially before the end of the period of 75 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was made, until the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was first so published.[528/2016 Section 182(3)]

Legislative Council copyright

According to the Copyright Ordinance (Chapter 528) (consolidated version of May 27, 2016),

  • Where a work is made by or under the direction or control of the Legislative Council the work qualifies for copyright protection and the Legislative Council is the first owner of any copyright in the work.[528/2016 Section 184(1)]
  • Legislative Council copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work continues to subsist until the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made.[528/2016 Section 184(3)]
  • For the purposes of this section, works made by or under the direction or control of the Legislative Council include (a) any work made by an officer or employee of the Legislative Council in the course of his duties; and (b) any sound recording, film, live broadcast or live cable programme of the proceedings of the Legislative Council. However, a work is not regarded as made by or under the direction or control of the Legislative Council by reason only of its being commissioned by or on behalf of the Legislative Council.[528/2016 Section 184(4)]

Copyright tags

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

Currency

See also: Commons:Currency

  Not OK section 103(1) of the Crimes Ordinance (Chapter 200) of the Laws of Hong Kong stipulates that reproduction of currency notes without prior permission of the Monetary Authority is an offense, and individuals may be liable for imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of $20,000.

It is worth to note that any approved reproduction under section 103 does not permit further subsequent copies or reproductions to be made for other usage ends without the written consent of the Monetary Authority. Therefore, applications for reproduction of Hong Kong currency note images for further copying or reproduction by a third party will generally not be approved. This implies that digital reproductions (which by nature permit further reproductions) are unlikely to be approved by the Authority, and so are not legally appropriate for Commons.

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

 OK for 3D works, not always for 2D {{FoP-Hong Kong}}

According to Copyright Ordinance (Chapter 528) (consolidated version of May 27, 2016), it is not a copyright infringement to make graphic representations, take photographs, or broadcast the images of buildings, sculptures, models for buildings and works of artistic craftsmanship, if the object is permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public.[528/2016 Section 71]

Because Hong Kong was a territory of the United Kingdom until 1997, Hong Kong law is modeled on UK law, and in the absence of any specific case law to the contrary it is reasonable to assume that the rules will be similar. See the United Kingdom for more details.

Similar to the UK law, 'works of artistic craftsmanship' is defined separately from 'graphic work'. The latter includes any painting, drawing, diagram, map, chart or plan, and any engraving, etching, lithograph, woodcut or similar work. Therefore freedom given in Sect 71 does not apply to posters or maps in public places.

Threshold of originality

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

  Not OK for most logos. The level of originality required for copyright protection is presumably very low.

Because Hong Kong was a territory of the United Kingdom until 1997, Hong Kong law is modeled on UK law, and in the absence of any specific case law to the contrary it is reasonable to assume that the rules will be similar. See the United Kingdom for more details.

See also

Citations

  1. a b Hong Kong, China Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  2. Copyright Ordinance (Chapter 528) (consolidated version of May 27, 2016). Hong Kong (2016). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  3. Cap 528 Sect 71, Copyright Ordinance
  4. in traditional Chinese
  5. Fact sheets. Government of Hong Kong. Retrieved on 2019-03-24.
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer