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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

The Darkest Moment


FADE IN:

INT. DINNING ROOM - NIGHT

The table clock displays 23:00. PETER and his WIFE begin to have dinner.

WIFE

The Bill I've been supporting

has become more controversial

than your Copyright Bill.

PETER (V.O.)

You must be referring to the

most recent one.

FLASHBACK

INT. TV STUDIO - DAY 1989

Cameras roll. A female ANCHOR (30s) interviews Peter (30s).

ANCHOR

What's "Blank tape levy"?

PETER

It's about a Government

levy upon the purchase of

a blank tape...

END FLASHBACK

Picking his chopsticks, Peter begins to eat.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

It was a possible law

reform option. Japan

took 14 years to arrive

at a "No" answer. Hong

Kong took less time

to come to the same

conclusion. Even if the

answer was "Yes", how

many consumers would

buy blank tapes these

days?

Peter takes a spoonful of soup.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Another controversial

issue was parallel

importation. It's about

importing genuine copyright

works such as DVDs into

a territory in direct

competition with its

exclusive licensee due

to price differentials.

Peter sees KAJI (the dog) waiting under the table.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Celebrities would protest

in Hong Kong streets. One

states publicly that he'd

immigrate elsewhere if

Hong Kong liberalizes

parallel imports.

Discreetly, Peter gives some food to Kaji.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

I did defend the interest

of authors, performers

and investors. The end

result was that Hong

Kong's first localized

Copyright Law 1997 was

messy on that score.

Pausing.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Later, a video rental chain

went bust.

Peter then pulls his lips inwards.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Then, Hong Kong's trading

partners used Hong Kong

as a legal battle field by

demanding more legislative

changes in their favour.

Peter takes a big bite of a piece of steak.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

I knew higher level of

protection would be tough

for Hongkongers who

were used to copying or

imitating. But I believed,

and am still do, that's

how Hong Kong can

develop a truly creative

culture - like the Greek

Phoenix mythology.

Swiftly, Peter finishes the steak.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

The amendment Bill, to my surprise, was passed.

Subsequent publicity

aroused people's fear.

Due to the powerful

opposition, the law's

operation was suspended

in 2000 before it came

into effect.

Pausing.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

As I was answerable and

responsible for the law, it

was the darkest moment

of my professional life as

a civil servant.

FLASHBACK

INT. LECTURE ROOM - DAY

Peter finishes speaking at the podium. As all the audience leave, a female HOST came up to chat with Peter.

HOST

You spoke your mind.

PETER (V.O.)

I did believe the harsh

legal sanctions against

copying would force

Hongkongers to engage

in intensive intellectual

activities, transforming

and uplifting themselves.

HOST

You're very bold.

END FLASHBACK

Peter consumes the soup, dripping off some on the table.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Subsequent piece-meal

legislative amendments

reinstated the effect of

the suspended law as

Hongkongers have

adapted to the change.

Peter finishes his dinner.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Then, another sector

wanted to copy works

of others for political fun.

They said they had the

freedom of expression;

and implicitly the right

to copy others' works.

They couldn't be freely

original in expressing

themselves.

Pausing.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

So, there're lots of public

debates, comparing apples

with pears...

EXT. ROAD - DAY

Peter's wife is about to get off the car.

PETER

I'll wait for you for dinner

as usual.

His wife doesn't respond.

INT. STUDY - DAY

Sitting behind his computer, Peter types.

PETER (V.O.)

Law-making seems to

be everybody's concern

these days. Let me

document a little of my law-making feelings.

Pausing.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd) I believe every one can

be original if one tries.

I've been showcasing

myself, although nothing

original comes easy.

Pausing.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

It's common sense the

law to protect creativity

shouldn't become a law

to condone copying.

The most recent copyright

amendment Bills weren't

passed either before or

after my retirement.

Pausing.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Contrary to others' perception,

I've been very happy with

the no-amendment result, as

my original structural design

of Hong Kong's Copyright

regime remains intact.

Peter inserts a photo into his blog post.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

The photo reflects how I

feel now being out of the law-

making politics!

Peter takes a look of the wall clock.

PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd)

Let me go swimming

first. I'd be content if

my wife and I could have

dinner by 23:00 hrs!

FADE OUT. The End

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