Customs clamps down on illicit photocopying

5 Jun 2008

Customs officers swooped on seven photocopying shops to deter infringing reprographic activities in a two-day (June 3-4) operation.

Acting on information provided by copyright owners on suspected illicit photocopying activities, Customs officers from Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau carried out an intensive investigation and conducted the operation.

They raided seven photocopying shops in Shau Kei Wan, Chai Wan, Tai Po, Tuen Mun, and Tin Shui Wai, leading to the seizure of 104 infringing photocopies of books, six photocopying machines and five binding machines,worth about $73,000 in total. The infringing photocopies included university text books and reference books.

Six men and a woman, aged 25 to 48, were arrested. They included six shop owners and a salesperson. They are on bail pending further investigation.

Hong Kong Customs appeals to photocopying shop owners not to engage in illicit photocopying business, or they will face prosecution.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, it is an offence for a person to possess, for the purpose of or in the course of a profit-making copying service business, an infringing copy of a copyright work as published in a book, magazine or periodical. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and an imprisonment for four years.

Since 2005, Hong Kong Customs and the Hong Kong Reprographic Rights Licensing Society have run a reward scheme to encourage the public to provide information on activities involving illegal photocopying of books. All information provided is confidential.

Members of the public can provide information by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, June 5, 2008

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