Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has taken a hardline stance and implied that filibustering the passing of the Copyright Amendment Bill will be of little use, ahead of the controversial bill’s second reading on Wednesday.
“We are willing to listen to different voices in the society, and this includes Councillors who do not support the bill. But filibustering would not help the matter,” Leung said on Sunday.
Citing the Innovation and Technology Bureau as an example, Leung said although the establishment of the bureau was delayed for three years due to filibustering, “it still had to pass in the end, and the public has a lot of resentment towards the filibustering.”
Leung said that the bill – dubbed the “Internet Article 23” – will on one hand allow space for creative freedom, and on the other hand it will enhance copyright protection to holders, Apple Daily reported.
Lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man has stated his intention to filibuster and will attempt to stall the bill by proposing over 900 amendments. Lawmaker Ray Chan Chi-chuen also said he will join the filibuster, and has proposed an amendment to the bill to include a “fair use” term.
Groups including Keyboard Frontline and Copyrights & Derivative Works Alliance have started an online petition opposing the bill. The groups requested that the government include a “contract override” term, which would override any contractual terms imposed by copyright owners to prohibit parody.
They also urged lawmakers to support amendments which include “contract override”, “user generated content” protection and “fair use” terms, or they should reject the bill, in order to express their determination to protect derivative works and internet freedom. By Sunday evening the petition had garnered 230,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, President of the Legislative Council Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said that the Legco Commission may step up security outside the complex, where protesters are planning a sit-in, RTHK reported.
When asked whether he would put an end to the filibustering, Tsang said that it would depend on whether the amendments proposed by Councillors were made in accordance with the rules of procedure; if they were, he would allow the discussion. He also said that as the President, he had a responsibility to ensure that the meeting could function properly and would strike a balance.