Copyright

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use.

In fact, the subsistence of copyright does not require the work to have an aesthetic value nor to be clever nor very creative. It exists even in an item as simple as a photograph taken by an ordinary person in daily life.

Copyright is an automatic right. It arises when a work is created. Unlike other intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks and industrial designs, it is not necessary to register a copyright in Hong Kong, China in order to get protection under the Hong Kong law. In fact, there is no official registry in Hong Kong for registration of copyright works.

To balance the rights of the owners and society as a whole, there are exceptions in the law. A work will only be infringed if a substantial part is taken. This is a matter of quality rather than quantity. If a musician copies a very catchy musical phrase from another musician's song, there is likely to be infringement even if that phrase is very short.

Subject to conditions, fair dealing for research and private study; criticism, review and news reporting, for use of works in library and school are permitted. Yet users should still be cautious about possible infringement. Photocopying an unreasonable amount of a book might constitute an infringement, for example.

The general rule is that copyright lasts until 50 years after the creator of the work dies. However, there are minor variations to this depending on the type of work.

We can help you with infringement analysis of the copyright.