Customs mounts operation against illegal photocopying of textbooks

20 Oct 2004

Customs officers from the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau have mounted a territory-wide operation against shops suspected of engaging in providing illegal photocopying service of textbooks.

Monday's (October 18) operation was to follow up on complaints from representatives of copyright owners.

During the operation, Customs officers seized 701 infringing photocopies of textbooks and seven photocopying machines in six shops in Sai Wan Ho, North Point and Tai Po. The total seizure was worth about $280,000.

Eight men aged between 28 and 50, and a 77-year-old woman were arrested. Of the arrested persons, a 37-year-old man was a holder of two-way permit.

To evade Customs investigations, one of the photocopying shops, located in Sai Wan Ho, had leased a domestic unit nearby to produce and store the infringing photocopies of textbooks.

In the past two months, Customs officers have conducted three anti-piracy operations against the illicit photocopying of textbooks, resulting in the seizure of 971 infringing photocopies of textbooks and 20 photocopying machines in 19 shops. The total seizure value was worth about $610,000.

A Customs and Excise Department spokesman today (October 20) reminded people, and in particular owners and staff of photocopying shops, not to make photocopies of copyright works, including textbooks, without authorisation of the copyright owners.

"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 four years' imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy," the spokesman said.

He appealed to the public to report any infringing activities by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Wednesday, October 20, 2004

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