China Extends Application of “Internet Treaties” to Hong Kong SAR

Geneva, September 26, 2008
PR/2008/565

As of October 1, 2008, the terms of two key international copyright treaties will extend to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).  The Government of the People’s Republic of China has notified the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that it has extended application of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty (WPPT) – known as the “Internet Treaties” - to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  These treaties which entered into force in 2002 bring the international system of copyright and related rights more in line with the challenges of the digital age. 

When China joined the WCT and the WPPT in June 2007, WIPO was informed by the Chinese Government that that “In accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has decided that, unless otherwise notified, the Treaty shall not apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.” 
 
Mr. Francis Gurry, who was appointed this week as WIPO’s new Director General by the WIPO General Assembly, welcomed the notification from China as a positive step, which would enable Hong Kong’s talented creators to create, distribute and control the use of their works within the digital environment with greater confidence.
 
The WCT and WPPT were agreed in 1996 and became law on March 6 and May 20, 2002 respectively.  To date 67 countries have signed up to the WCT and 66 to the WPPT.  These treaties have been of key importance in boosting the development of the Internet, electronic commerce and the culture and information industries by ensuring the quality and authenticity of digital content.  This has enabled creators, performers, sound recording producers and associated industries to reap the financial rewards of their talent, creativity and investment.
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