Government boosts public respect for intellectual property rights (with photos)

16 Feb 2008

The Government is committed to protecting intellectual property rights (IPRs) through legislation, law enforcement action and civic education to increase public respect for creativity and protection of copyright works.

Officiating at a ceremony of the "Youth Ambassador of the Year Activity" at the Customs and Excise Training School today (February 16), the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, said the Government had spared no effort in the protection of IPRs by providing the creative industry with a level playing field that was conducive to enhancing Hong Kong's overall competitiveness.

To strengthen public awareness and foster respect for IPRs, the Government launched the "Youth Ambassador Against Internet Piracy Scheme" in 2006. Mr Ma said the scheme was initiated by the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) in collaboration with the copyright industry. It had received overwhelming support from 11 local youth uniformed organisations.

Through the concerted efforts of the Government, the copyright industry and 200,000 members of the 11 youth uniformed organisations, the scheme aims to cultivate a sense of respect for copyright works among young people and encourage them to stay away from piracy activities.

Since the launch of the scheme in July, 2006, C&ED has received from the youth ambassadors about 1,600 reports of infringing BT seeds involving suspected pirated copyright works. About 80% of these infringing seeds were swiftly removed by the webmasters of the BT discussion forums. The remainder were found to have invalid connections.

Recognising the scheme's success, Mr Ma commended the youth ambassadors for their enthusiasm in helping to protect IPRs. Apart from setting a good example in combating piracy activities, the youth ambassadors also brought home the message of respecting IPRs and engaged their relatives and friends to protect IPRs. By so doing, the scheme had achieved the dual objective of promoting IPRs protection and civic education.

The Customs and Excise Department has taken various other initiatives to protect IPRs. These include setting up "Anti-Internet Piracy Teams" to investigate criminal piracy activities on the Internet, the "Lineament Monitoring System" to enable round-the-clock monitoring of illegal file sharing activities by way of the BitTorrent (BT) software and tracking down the "seeders" who have uploaded the infringing files, and the "E-auctioning with Integrity Scheme" jointly launched with local Internet auction sites, copyright organisations and trademark owners to suppress online sale of pirated and counterfeit goods.

At today's ceremony, Mr Ma presented trophies to 11 youth ambassadors for their enthusiastic support and outstanding contribution in helping to curb online piracy activities, as well as their active participation in various activities of the scheme. He encouraged the young people to continue giving whole-hearted support to the "Youth Ambassador Scheme".

Also officiating at the ceremony were the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen; the Acting Director of Intellectual Property, Mr Peter Cheung; the Star of the Youth Ambassador Scheme, Denise Ho; and representatives of the 11 youth uniformed organisations.

The Assistant Commissioner (Intelligence and Investigation) of C&ED, Mr Tam Yiu-keung, and representatives of the copyright industry also attended the function.

Other programmes at today's function included telematches to strengthen the participants' team spirit and their co-operation in the protection of IPRs.

Ends/Saturday, February 16, 2008

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