Copyright Registration in Hong Kong

Does Hong Kong have a centralized copyright agency? Actually, in Hong Kong, there's no centralized agency for copyright registration. Unlike some jurisdictions, Hong Kong operates under the unregistered copyright system, which means that copyright protection is automatic and doesn't require formal registration.

If you're wondering about how to apply for copyright registration in Hong Kong and what the fees are, there's no applicable procedure or cost. Copyright protection is automatically provided upon creation of an original work.

Is copyright registration mandatory in Hong Kong? The answer is no. In Hong Kong, copyright protection is automatic upon the creation of a work, and no registration is required. As such, there are no legal consequences for not registering a copyright since such a registration system does not exist. However, the benefits of this unregistered system are that it simplifies the process and reduces the administrative burden on creators.


Are there any copyright notice requirements in Hong Kong? No, Hong Kong law doesn't require the use of copyright notices. Nevertheless, it's often good practice to include a notice to inform others of your copyright. The lack of a copyright notice doesn't lead to legal consequences, but its presence could deter potential infringers.

Similarly, Hong Kong doesn't mandate copyright deposit. The absence of any formality, such as copyright deposit, doesn't bear any legal consequences. Yet, preserving copies of your work could serve as useful evidence in case of any copyright disputes.

Failure to register a copyrighted work doesn't lead to any legal consequences, given that Hong Kong operates under the unregistered copyright system. Simply put, no formal registration is needed to secure your copyright protection.


Hong Kong's copyright laws are primarily governed by the Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528). This piece of legislation is enforced by the Customs and Excise Department, which has a dedicated Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau.

The Copyright Ordinance also contains specific provisions that address digital exploitation. Section 118 addresses the issue of unauthorized communication of copyright works to the public, which covers digital dissemination.

As for extraterritorial application, Hong Kong's copyright laws don't explicitly cover foreign-owned or foreign-operated websites that infringe copyright. However, the local laws may have implications for such sites if their activities reach into Hong Kong and infringe on local copyright holders' rights.


The original creator of the work is typically the owner of a copyrighted work in Hong Kong. However, an employer can own a copyright in works made by an employee if the work is made during the course of employment, under a contract of service or apprenticeship.

If a copyrighted work is made by an independent contractor, the contractor typically owns the copyright unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Copyrighted works can be co-owned if the work was a collaborative effort where the contributions can't be separated. In such cases, all contributors jointly hold the copyright.

In Hong Kong, copyright may be transferred or assigned with written agreement. Additionally, copyright holders may grant licenses to others to use their work, and this is also typically done through a written agreement.

International Aspects

Hong Kong is a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Universal Copyright Convention. It is also part of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). These international conventions impose obligations on Hong Kong to provide protection to copyright works from other member countries and to accord them the same treatment as Hong Kong local works.

In the modern digital era, copyright issues are becoming increasingly prominent in Hong Kong. The government is making efforts to amend the existing copyright regime to better address the challenges posed by the rapid advancement of technology. A recent significant development was the failed attempt to revise the Copyright Ordinance in

2014, which was met with widespread opposition due to concerns over Internet freedom. As technology evolves and the ways in which we create and consume content change, Hong Kong will continue to face challenges in striking a balance between protecting copyright holders and preserving the freedom of expression.