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Thursday, Oct 29, 2020

YouTube pulls down video spoof of protest anthem ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ over copyright infringement accusations

Self-described pro-Hong Kong group writes new lyrics and title that roughly translates as Wishing for the Truth to Save Hong Kong. YouTube says video was taken down because it ‘contains content from Goomusic’ – which is linked to singer and activist Denise Ho.
The video-sharing platform YouTube on Saturday removed a controversial video version of the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong with lyrics changed to be supportive of police and disparaging of the anti-government movement. YouTube said on its website the music video was taken down because it “contains content from Goomusic, who has blocked it on copyright grounds”. Goomusic is linked to Denise Ho Wan-see, a local singer and activist who has frequently joined pro-democracy protests in recent months. She also testified at a US Congress hearing about the political turmoil in Hong Kong. A self-described pro-Hong Kong group, including pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, uploaded the new video on Saturday – but it was removed by YouTube hours later. The release triggered immediate outrage among fans of the original song, while a local lawyer said the rendition clearly violated the city’s copyright laws. Glory to Hong Kong started to gain popularity on the online forum LIHKG in late August. It has since become the unofficial anthem of the anti-government movement, with many saying that the lyrics about “liberating Hong Kong” resonated with them. But the song has annoyed opponents of the movement. This month, a group who called themselves “people who love Hong Kong”, wrote new lyrics and a new title that roughly translates as Wishing for the Truth to Save Hong Kong. A music video was created to accompany the new rendition, with the police emblem and supportive statements for the force shown at the beginning. One of the new lyrics asks “why is the golden land of Hong Kong being destroyed?” Another line wondered of protesters “why did they throw stones but do not want to be held accountable for it”. People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, posted the video on its Weibo account on September 14. On Saturday, the group released another video with the same lyrics but with the song’s title changed to Wishing for Peace to Return to Hong Kong. This video features an orchestra and a white-clad choir that included Junius Ho. The style of the new video was a direct reference to the Glory to Hong Kong video, which featured the “Black Orchestra”, a group of 150 masked musicians and singers dressed in black protest gear. The conductor of the orchestra, a 30-year-old musician known as “S”, called the new, white-themed video a joke. He said he was not surprised that Ho, who is a lawyer, did not know about copyrights. “The sound does not even match with the shots,” said the conductor. “The counterfeit was so poorly produced.” Some internet users called out those involved with the new video for shameless plagiarism. Barrister Anson Wong Yu-tat said it was clear the video uploaded on Saturday infringed copyright laws because there was a “substantial reproduction” of the original song’s composition. Wong said it would be difficult for the composer of Glory to Hong Kong – who has not revealed his identity – to sue the group without appearing in public. The song’s composer has said he only wished to be known as “Thomas dgx yhl”. The Post has contacted Thomas and Junius Ho for comment. Ho was criticised by protesters after he was filmed shaking hands with some white-clad men who were suspected to be involved in the violent attack at protesters at Yuen Long MTR station on July 21. The video was not the first time the pro-government camp adopted the protesters’ tactics. Government supporters climbed Lion Rock after their rivals formed a human chain on the hill, and staged their own singing campaign after the protesters performed Glory to Hong Kong at shopping centres across the city.

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Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.

Oscar Ameringer
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