Hong Kong Customs yesterday (December 15) conducted an enforcement operation codenamed "Magpie" throughout the city to combat illegal activities involving party room and restaurant operators providing infringing karaoke songs to customers in the course of business. A total of 18 sets of karaoke players used for playing suspected infringing songs, one set of a game console with suspected pirated electronic games, a batch of televisions and audio and video equipment were seized. The total estimated market value is approximately $770,000.
Through intelligence analysis and with the assistance of copyright owners, Customs earlier identified a number of party rooms and restaurants suspected of possessing and providing infringing karaoke songs to customers in the course of business. Customs officers then took enforcement action yesterday and raided four party rooms and two restaurants in Kwun Tong, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kwai Chung and Tsuen Wan. The batch of suspected infringing items and relevant equipment were seized.
During the operation, five men and four women aged between 25 and 67 were arrested for being suspected of contravening the Copyright Ordinance. Three of them are persons-in-charge of the party rooms and the other six are staff members. An investigation is ongoing and the nine arrested persons have been released on bail pending further investigation.
Customs reminds business operators to comply with the Copyright Ordinance and to make enquiries to copyright owners on matters relating to the use of musical visual recordings in the course of business.
Under the Copyright Ordinance, any person, who without the licence of the copyright owner of a copyright work, possesses infringing copies of a copyright work for the purpose of or in the course of any trade or business with a view to it being used by any person commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and imprisonment for four years.
Members of the public may report any suspected infringing activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (firstname.lastname@example.org).