The Hong Kong Creative Industries Association (HKCIA) and the Taiwan Intellectual Property Alliance (TIPA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the mutual exchange of the "Infringing Website Lists" (IWL), marking the creative sector's first step towards expanding regional collaboration to fight online piracy.
A total of 6 Asian countries or districts, namely Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and India, have so far put in place the IWL Scheme to disrupt the flow of advertising revenue to websites offering unauthorized access to copyright content. According to the MOU, the IWL of Hong Kong, currently listing 48 most popular pirate websites, will be shared with the copyright sector in Taiwan, which in turn will provide the Hong Kong copyright sector with access to its IWL, with information of 36 pirate websites so far.
"Online piracy is cross-boundary, and piracy syndicates would change the server locations of pirate websites continuously, rendering it difficult to crack down on such crimes. The exchange and sharing of the IWL among different countries and districts will enable copyright holders, advertisers, Internet service providers and online platforms to have access to a more comprehensive database of infringing websites, making it more effective to reduce advertising profits and traffic of these websites and to curb online piracy," said Mr Robert Lee, Chairman of HKCIA. "We look forward to expanding such regional collaboration and will endeavor to negotiate similar exchange arrangements with other Asia Pacific countries."
Mr Jonathan Chu, representative of TIPA, said, "The IWL Scheme in Taiwan has achieved significant results since its launch. All government units, government-owned enterprises and 27 major brands have removed their advertisements from the pirate websites. We are confident that the cross-boundary cooperation between Hong Kong and Taiwan will further protect the creative industries against online piracy activities."
The Hong Kong IWL Scheme, launched in December 2016, has cut 105 advertisements and 800,000 visits from the target pirate websites, resulting in a 24% reduction in advertising revenue, equivalent to HK$6.5 million per month, for the piracy syndicates. The Scheme has also gained strong support from the government, with the Intellectual Property Department issuing a circular asking all government departments to refer to the IWL when they place online advertisements. The Customs and Excise Department has also taken the initiative to introduce the Scheme to different sectors.
"The local creative industries suffer a loss of HK$120 million per month in revenue due to online piracy activities. But many brand owners who place online advertisements through advertising agencies or intermediaries are not aware that their advertisements end up being shown on pirate websites alongside infringing and illegal content, including pornography. Online users looking for free content on these websites may also expose their computers and mobile phones to viruses and malware and have their personal data stolen," said Dr Michael Kwan, Convener of IWL Scheme in Hong Kong.
The IWL in Hong Kong now lists information of 48 overseas websites offering unauthorized access to copyright content. The list is made available to partnering advertisers, agencies and intermediaries, who subsequently cease to place advertisements on the pirate websites. This is designed to disrupt the advertising revenue flowing to these sites, deterring online infringement as well as safeguarding advertisers' brand reputation.
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About Hong Kong Creative Industries Association
The Hong Kong Creative Industries Association was formed by members of the movie, TV and radio broadcasting, comics and animation, intellectual property rights licensing as well as publishing sectors in March 2015. The Association aims to unite the Hong Kong creative industries to strive for sufficient and timely legal protection and create a fair and sustainable environment for industry development. It also seeks to communicate and collaborate with the Government in order to strengthen public education about protection of intellectual property.
About Taiwan Intellectual Property Alliance
Taiwan Intellectual Property Alliance (TIPA) was formed by five major copyright owners associations in Taiwan representing the movie, recording, book publishing and software sectors. The objective of TIPA is to work with the government to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), to facilitate legislation and to enhance public awareness of IPR protection. TIPA established a special team in September 2017 for implementing the Infringing Website List Scheme and invited associations representing e-book publishers and the comic and animation industry to participate in the Scheme.