Friday, May 11, 2012

No excuse to put parody points aside

[Letter to the Editor of South China Morning Post]

Your editorial ("Copyright protection bill is a balancing act", May 5) is a classic case of stating all the right reasons but missing the point.

Yes, the government is right to update the existing regime in the face of technological advances, and there is widespread misunderstanding about the law.

As you said, these worries are not unfounded. Yet, while you conclude that more time for discussion is reasonable and the bill should be passed - presumably as it is - before the Legislative Council disbands in the summer, you overlook the critical point of contention raised by netizens: some form of statutory exemption or protection for parody is needed.

The government's claim that parody is difficult to define is not an excuse.

Legal protection allowing caricature, parody, pastiche and other forms of derivative use of copyrighted works is one of the key components of the European Union copyright directive of 2011, requiring member states to harmonise their respective copyright laws to explicitly allow such acts - all for protecting freedom of expression.

Why has our government omitted to tell us this is a global legislative trend for intellectual property?

Yes, copyright protection is a balancing act, and that is precisely why our citizens should be legally protected by such an exemption.

Charles Mok, Chairman, The Professional Commons

Printed in SCMP Letter to the Editor, May 11, 2012


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