Posted March 21 2006 - 01:17 PM
| I don't think the rights to Teresa Teng's music has expired yet. Otherwise, Hong Kong Universal would've fought extremely hard to retain it since her music is like a money printing machine....in 2005 alone, HK Universal issued a 20 CD boxset, a 4 CD compilation and reissued 2 of her albums on audiophile vinyl. |
I don't doubt that the copyright on her material is still in effect in Hong Kong
and elsewhere in the world, the anomaly is that in China, the copyright might have expired. Copyright is a territorial thing, valid based on the laws of that country, and can be owned by different owners in different countries, e.g. IIRC Titanic is owned by Paramount in North America but Fox in the rest of the world, per their agreement to share production costs, so the DVDs would be released by Paramount in R1, but Fox in the other regions -- all are legit, and Fox for instance could not claim piracy of Titanic by Paramount in North America based on its rights elsewhere, and vice versa.
Usually, in those circumstances, parallel-importing something legit from one country into another where the copyright owner is different is still legit, e.g. if a US resident decided he wanted the 4-disc Titanic set released by Fox in R2 and imported it, that's probably legit. A few countries have stricter regimes (IIRC Australia did, where consent of copyright owner in Australia is all-important, but I don't know if the Aussies have since dropped this.)
The difficulty arises when what is "in copyright" in one country might have expired in another, so in that other country, the material would have entered public domain and can be "copied" at will. Notionally, the "public domain" copy released in the latter is still "legit", since in that country it is public domain and anyone can now copy it.
The clash comes when a copy of something released on that basis, i.e. entered public domain in country A but still in copyright in country B, is parallel-imported from A to B. In some instances, copyright law talks about "copies made with the consent of the copyright owner" as being a test of legitimacy, which validates parallel imports of "official releases" where copyright is owned by different parties (such as the example of Titanic), but therefore prohibits "now public domain" copies from countries with lesser/shorter protection.
This issue is, I think, going to flare up in due course, since the US extended copyright to 95 years, whilst most other countries have not followed suit. Expect a "Gone With The Wind" lawsuit some time...