Q2. What is the background of devising the Guidelines?
The Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528) gives certain exclusive rights to copyright owners of printed works. Such rights include the right to copy the work. That means someone who wants to copy a printed copyright work needs to obtain the owner's permission first.
To balance the interests between copyright owners and users, the Ordinance permits certain acts to be done in relation to copyright works notwithstanding the subsistence of copyright. Some of these acts are related to the educational sector. However, the acts permitted should not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work by the copyright owner and should not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the copyright owner.
Section 45 of the Ordinance allows photocopying of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works "to a reasonable extent" by or on behalf of educational establishments for instruction purposes when no relevant licensing schemes are available.
The purpose of these Guidelines is to provide guidance for determining the extent of permissible photocopying of printed works by or on behalf of not-for-profit educational establishments for instruction purposes.
Q5. Do "Printed Works" in the Guidelines include both local and overseas textbooks and reference books?
Yes. However the photocopying of textbooks written in accordance with any syllabus issued by the Hong Kong Curriculum Development Council is subject to different (more stringent) conditions. For limits on copying this type of textbooks, please refer to Clause E(6)(b) of the Guidelines.
Q7. How much can a teacher copy out of a textbook?
For one course in a calendar month, 2% of the number of pages can be copied. For one course in an academic year, in total 5% of the number of pages can be copied. But if 2% or 5% of the number of pages exceeds a chapter of the book, then only a chapter may be copied.
Q8. How much can a teacher copy out of a newspaper title?
The Guidelines have been revised on 10 March 2004 to cover photocopying of newspapers. Under the revised Guidelines, not more than 15 articles may be copied from the same newspaper title for one course in any one academic year.
Q10. What are the specific limits referred to in the answer to Q9?
For example, there should not be more than 27 instances of copying made for one course in one academic year, and the number of copies made should not exceed one copy per student in a course. Full details of the limits on the extent of copying are contained in Part E of the Guidelines.
An "instance" is not limited to copying one work. A teacher may copy up to 3 works in one "instance", as copying 4 works or more would be regarded as making a "course pack", which is not allowed under the Guidelines.
A "course" basically means a subject in a particular year of study. For example, Chinese in Primary 1 and Primary 4 are two different courses. In the context of tertiary education, each subject or unit in a degree programme should be regarded as a separate "course".
Q13. Can you give an example on how Clause D (4) is meant to operate?
If on Monday a teacher comes across a short poem in a novel and decides to use it for teaching in his English class by distributing copies of it to the students, he should use it on or before Thursday (i.e. within 3 working days). If the teacher wants to use it after Thursday, then he should contact the publisher or the relevant licensing body (in this case the licensing body should be HKRRLS - see Appendix 2 of the Guidelines for details) and seek permission or a licence before making copies of it.
Q14. Can a teacher copy exercises from a workbook for distribution to the students?
Workbooks, exercises, tests, answer sheets etc are regarded as "consumables", and are excluded from the scope of the Guidelines. Therefore the teacher cannot make copies of exercises for distribution to students under the Guidelines.
Q17: Do librarians currently have similar guidelines for copying of works kept in libraries?
The conditions under which librarians can make copies of works in their collection are presently contained in the Copyright Ordinance and the Copyright (Libraries) Regulations. We are currently in the process of preparing an up-dated set of regulations to be enacted by the legislature for use by librarians and archivists.