Hong Kong Customs is planning to introduce new measures to tighten control on the production of optical discs and to expand co-operation with the Mainland Customs authorities to crack down on cross-boundary copyright infringement activities.
To enlist co-operation and support from optical discs manufacturers, the Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr William Chow Oi-tung, today (April 29) hosted a seminar to talk about its plan to roll out a new scheme requiring optical discs manufacturers to submit production records of optical discs with copyrighted work and relating authorisation documents.
Mr Chow said, "This new scheme aims to help Hong Kong Customs to reinforce its control over the production of optical discs, ensuring that no optical discs will be produced without legitimate authorisations."
"This will lead to more effective Customs enforcement against illegal production of optical discs, and serve as a strong deterrent against cross- boundary infringement activities," he said.
On one hand, Hong Kong Customs officers will continue to monitor local production of optical discs to ensure that licensed optical discs factories have secured proper authorisations from local copyright owners before production.
On the other hand, the Department is exploring ways to better co-operate with Mainland Customs to strengthen verification of Mainland copyright in its course of law enforcement.
Also speaking at the seminar was the Director of Policy and Statute Division, Mr Xie Song, of the Guangdong Sub-administration of the Customs General Administration of the PRC. Mr Song talked about Mainland crackdowns against smuggling of optical discs.
Mr Chow said that, under the planned scheme, the licensed optical factories would be required to submit regularly to the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau of the Hong Kong Customs production records of optical discs, including samples of optical discs manufactured. Besides, these factories had to send the orders for production of optical discs and relevant authorisation documents to Hong Kong Customs by fax once these documents were available, Mr Chow added.
Hong Kong Customs targets to roll out the new scheme this year. Accordingly, the Department has sent out questionnaires to industry players to gather their opinions.
Mr Chow said, as a result of relentless Hong Kong Customs crackdown actions, pirates had turned to use small-scale "workshops" for producing pirated optical discs from the year 2000 onward.
To clamp down on cross-boundary infringement activities, Hong Kong and Mainland Customs conduct parallel operations at the land control points from time to time. In addition, they regularly hold meetings to strengthen intelligence exchange.
In 2003, Hong Kong Customs cracked 19 cases of smuggling of optical discs, resulting in the seizure of 8,636,620 optical discs. In the first three months of 2004, the Department seized 63,718 optical discs in three cases of smuggling of optical discs.
Ends/Thursday, April 29, 2004