Wednesday, July 19, 2006

IPR Enforcement in HK: Today Children Will be Men And Women?

'Hong Kong enlists youth to fight piracy' writes Keith Bradsher for the New York Times, which was published in the International Herald Tribune.

Today the 'Youth Ambassadors campaing' starts with 1.600 children (in the age of 9-25) pledging their participation in a stadium where movie stars and government ministers will talk encourage them to inform the authorities of unauthorised uploaded copyrighted material.
The idea to enlist children in law enforcement met a lot of criticisim. Emily Lau, a pro-democracy lawmaker, wanted more details for public debate and Christine Loh, chief exectutive of Civic Exchange, a policy research group was wary too, because the plan echoed the times of the Cultural Revolution. IP Dragon ventilated some concerns too: 'HK Governement Recruits Youth As Informers In Battle Against Internet Piracy', see here and 'New HK generation IPR Ready or Snitches', here.

Tam Yiu-keung, HK Excise and Customs Department's senior superintendent for IP investigations said that: "We are not trying to manipulate youths and get them into the spy profession." The idea is to arouse a civic conscience to report crimes to the authorities. So what is the procedure?

Bradsher writes:
"When youths report to the authorities that movies, songs or other copyrighted material are being made available through an Internet posting, customs officials will verify the posting and relay it to trade groups like the Motion Picture Association or the International Federation of the Phonographic Inductry. The associations then send warning letters to the Web masters of the discussion forums asking them to delete the offending posting; the customs officials keep secret which child has spotted which posting."

Awareness is fine, stimulating to grow a conscience even more fine, but I still have some problems with the fact that children are pushed to report IPR infringements. What do you think?

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