In Hong Kong, copyright come into being as soon as the idea, design or expression is fixed in tangible form. For examples, cartoon drawn on paper, words typed in saved electronic file, etc. The problem in practice is of course how to prove that one created and recorded it a few years ago instead of yesterday.
Copyright cannot be governmentally registered in Hong Kong. The proof of copyright in Hong Kong is mainly by affidavit or statutory declaration as set down in Section 121 of the Copyright Ordinance.
There also exist a number of private copyright registries allowing deposit of copyright materials. They though provide a useful function are not established by the Hong Kong Government.
Certain websites also exist from to time providing an upload and time-stamping function to facilitate the proof of creation, since these days most creative works are in digital form such as software codes, Auto-CAD files, musics and videos.
The Copyright Tribunal and the various copyright licensing bodies such as CASH (Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong), Hong Kong Recording Industry Alliance, etc are not copyright registry. The latters are association of copyright owners for collecting licensing fees, while the former is adjudicator of disputes relating to licences offered by or licensing schemes operated by licensing associations. For example, any person or company who feel to have been unreasonably refused a licence under a licensing scheme, or considers the terms of an offered licence to be unreasonable may refer the matter to the Copyright Tribunal for determination.
General questions on copyright validity, infringement, civil remedies and criminal sentences in Hong Kong are in the domain of Hong Kong Courts, and not of the Copyright Tribunal or the Intellectual Property Department.
of Copyright Statutory Declaration
- Statutory declaration is a good evidence of your claim on the copyright work as at the date of affirmation.
- Statutory declaration assists you evidentially in legal action against pirates and copycats.
- Statutory declaration is a document of IP asset, which is useful in supporting valuation
of your company in M&A or IPO situations.
- Statutory declaration is the most acceptable document for making copyright complaint to the Legal Adviser of HKTDC Fairs about infringement by another exhibitor.
The fee is HK$4,800 for affirming 3 copies of statutory declaration on 1 creative work.
The fee is all-inclusive. Neither we nor the solicitor administering the oath charge any miscellaneous disbursement.
If there is more than 1 creative work in a batch, each additional creative work is only HK$3,600 all-inclusive.
Types of Hong Kong Copyright
Copyright is a property right which subsists in the following types of work-
1) original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works;
"literary work" includes :
(a) a compilation of data or other material, in any form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of its contents constitutes an intellectual creation, including but not limiting to a table; and
(b) a computer program and preparatory design material for a computer program;
"musical work" means a work consisting of music, exclusive of any words or action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music.
But copyright does not subsist in a literary, dramatic or musical work unless and until it is recorded, in writing or otherwise.
"artistic work" means-
"graphic work" includes-
(a) a graphic work, photograph, or sculpture, irrespective of artistic quality;
(b) a work of architecture being a building or a model for a building; or
(c) a work of artistic craftsmanship;
"photograph" means a recording of light or other radiation on any medium on which an image is produced or from which an image may by any means be produced.
(a) any painting, drawing, diagram, map, chart or plan; and
(b) any engraving, etching, lithograph, woodcut or similar work;
2) sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes;
"sound recording" means-
(a) a recording of sounds, from which the sounds may be reproduced; or
(b) a recording of the whole or any part of a literary, dramatic or musical work, from which sounds reproducing the work or part may be produced,
regardless of the medium on which the recording is made or the method by which the sounds are reproduced or produced. But copyright does not subsist in a sound recording which is, or to the extent that it is, a copy taken from a previous sound recording.
"film" means a recording on any medium from which a moving image may by any means be produced. The sound-track accompanying a film is to be treated as part of the film. But copyright does not subsist in a film which is, or to the extent that it is, a copy taken from a previous film.
"broadcast" means a transmission by wireless of sounds or of visual images and sounds which is capable of being lawfully received by the public. The reception of a broadcast include reception of a broadcast relayed by means of a telecommunications system. But copyright does not subsist in a broadcast which infringes, or to the extent that it infringes, the copyright in another broadcast or in a cable programme.
"cable programme" essentially means any sounds, visual images, other informationitem sending by a telecommunications system for simultaneous reception or at different times in response to requests made by different users of the service. It include video-on-demand but exclude video conferencing or video phone transmission. Further, copyright does not subsist in a cable programme if it is included in a cable programme service by reception and immediate re-transmission of a broadcast; or it infringes, or to the extent that it infringes, the copyright in another cable programme or in a broadcast.
3) typographical arrangement of published editions
means a published edition of the whole or any part of one or more literary, dramatic or musical works. But copyright does not subsist in the typographical arrangement of a published edition if, or to the extent that, it reproduces the typographical arrangement of a previous edition.
4) fixation of performance
includes film or sound recording made from performance of a dramatic performance, dance, musical performance or other variety of act and presentation given by one or more individuals. Performer means an actor, singer, musician, dancer or any other person who acts, sings, delivers, declaims, plays in, interprets, or otherwise performs a performance.
Duration of Hong Kong Copyright
For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work : life of author plus 50 years.
If the work is of unknown authorship, then 50 years from creation, or if during that period it is made public, 50 years from making public.
For computer-generated works : 50 years from creation.
For sound recording : 50 years from creation, or if during that period it is released, 50 years from the release.
For film : life of the following persons plus 50 years -
(a) the principal director;
(b) the author of the screenplay;
(c) the author of the dialogue; or
(d) the composer of music specially created for and used in the film,
If the identity of the persons are unknown, copyright expires at 50 years from creation, or
if during that period the film is made public, at 50 years from making public. The identity of the persons are treated as unknown if it is not possible to ascertain the identity by reasonable inquiry.
For broadcast or cable programme : 50 years from broadcast or inclusion in a cable programme service.
For typographical arrangement of a published edition : 25 years from first publication.
For fixation of performance : 50 years from performance, or if during that period a fixation of the performance is released, 50 years from the release.
All the above "years" means till 31 December of the year as ultimate expiry of the copyright.
||Copyright owner and its declarant's full name, address and ID/Passport No.
||Author's full name, address, nationality and ID/Passport No.
||Relationship between owner and the author eg. employment, commission, assignment.
||Date and place of creation and of making public (if any).
||Description of the works.
||4 copies of the works on paper and on CD.
The Hong Kong Government's Customs and Excise Department has responsibility over criminal aspect of copyright infringement. Their hotline for crime reporting is (852) 2545 6182.
It further has a "Fast Action Scheme" with Hong Kong Brands Protection Alliance to organise co-ordinated raids in major trade exhibitions in Hong Kong.
Other Copyright Registrations
China Copyright Registration
USA Copyright Registration
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