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8. Are parallel imports (or grey-market goods) legal under the Copyright Ordinance?

Parallel imports are goods that are originally made and intended for a sale or distribution outside of Hong Kong which were subsequently imported into Hong Kong without the consent of the copyright owner.


It is a criminal offence to deal in (i.e. sell, hire or distribute for profit) parallel imported copies of any copyright work (except computer software products); import parallel imported copies of any copyright work (except computer software products) for dealing in the copies; or import or possess parallel imported copies of movies, television dramas, musical sound recordings or musical visual recordings for playing or showing in public if such acts are done within 15 months from the date the copyright work was first published anywhere in the world. 


A copy is presumed to be an imported copy if (i) the label or packaging of the copy shows that it was intended for distribution or sale outside of Hong Kong or (ii) it is stored in an optical disc which does not bear a Hong Kong licensed manufacturer’s code.


Any person who commits an offence mentioned above is liable to a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and four years’ imprisonment.


In addition, the copyright owner may commence legal proceedings against the infringer for the compensation and damage he suffers by reason of any infringing acts by the infringer.