The 10 Highlights of Copyright in China 2018

On 15 March 2019, the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) published the 10 Highlights of Copyright in China 2018. This national-level review is of good referential value to know the status quo of copyright protection in this country ... or even just to know what qualified as the top 10 events in the eyes of the NCAC.  

1. Reorganisation 

In accordance with the Plan for Deepening the Institutional Reform of the Party and State released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (‘the CPC Central Committee’) in March 2018 (the full text is available here, only in Chinese), the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee started to administer copyright, the press and publication, and the film sectors. So now the NCAC is part of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee. 

2. Better ecosystem for online music 

In 2018, the NCAC continued promoting the cooperation in copyright licensing between the major online music service providers, such as Tencent Music, Netease Cloud Music, and Ali Music. Significantly, over 99% of their exclusive musical works were opened to license. The NCAC also instructed parties to improve copyright authorisation models and eventually to promote the construction of a healthy and orderly online music copyright ecology. 

3. ‘Sword Net 2018’ 

From July to December 2018, the NCAC, together with the National Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Public Security launched the "Sword Net 2018" special action to tackle copyright infringements in the emerging short video field. 

In accordance with the requirements of the action, the 15 main short video platforms, such as Douyin, namely the Chinese version of Tiktok, strengthened copyright protection and actively fulfilled their own corporate responsibilities. Accordingly, in total of 570,000 short video works containing alleged infringements were taken down. 

The 15 main players in the Chinese short video market

4. ‘China Financial Media Copyright Protection Alliance’ 

On 15 December 2018, more than 30 mainstream Chinese financial medias launched a joint action called ‘China Financial Media Copyright Protection Alliance’, aimed at defending the copyrights specifically owned by financial and economic media and to fight against the unauthorised reprinting of news works. This initiative was expected to enhance their bargaining power over the reprinted works, and to normalise the regular monitoring, rights protection, and market-oriented transactions, in order to promote the healthy development of the entire news copyright market. 

5. E-commerce platform and anti-piracy alliance work together to crack down online piracy 

On 21 October 2018, during the 7th China International Copyright Expo, Alibaba Group and the Beijing-based 15 Anti-Piracy Alliance signed a collaboration agreement to protect books’ copyright. Shortly afterwards, on 9 November 2018, during the China International Import Expo, Pinduoduo (see a Kat’s post on Pinduoduo here) signed cooperative agreements on the protection of books’ copyright with both the Beijing-based 15 Anti-Piracy Alliance and the Children's Publishing Anti-Piracy Alliance. 

Multiple parties have been jointly promoted the co-governance of copyright and strengthened the cooperation with both the e-commerce platform and the right holders. New measures to curb multiple kinds of infringements from the source continued to emerge. 

6. Special action to protect the copyright of Mr. Jin Yong’s works 

Jin Yong (in Chinese:金庸, the pseudonym of Louis Cha Leung-yung, 查良镛) is a legendary Chinese martial arts fiction novelist. He captured the hearts of millions globally as over 300 million copies of his works have been reportedly sold worldwide. On 30 October 2018, Mr. Jin Yong passed away at age 94. Millions of fans mourned his death but meanwhile, some illegal merchants took the opportunity to make profits from piracy. 

A Legend of Wuxia Literature
In response, the copyright enforcements of multiple regions operated series of investigations to protect Mr. Jin Yong’s copyrights. Notably, Beijing Shunyi (district), Tianjin Jinghai (county), Zhejiang Hangzhou (city), Guangdong Guangzhou (city), Henan Zhengzhou (city) seized approx.180,000, 110,000, 27,000, 20,000, 10,000 allegedly pirated books, respectively. 

7. Beijing Internet Court hears the first copyright case 

The Beijing Internet Court was established on 9 September 2018. The first case heard by the Court was a dispute in relation to the rights to distribution through Internet between short video streaming platforms Douyin and Huopai. The case was also the first in China in which a platform helped users defend their rights. Douyin requested the court to order Huopai to stop the infringement, apologise, and to pay a fine of CNY 1 million. 

The case is not final yet. One significance of the case was that the Court confirmed short videos could fulfil the originality requirement. 

8. 2018 China Copyright Gold Awards 

To encourage the individuals and organisations that had made outstanding contributions in the creation, utilisation, protection and management of copyrights, on 19 October 2018, WIPO and the NCAC held the award ceremony for the 2018 China Copyright Gold Award in Suzhou, announcing the winners of the Creativity Award, Award for Copyright Utilisation, Award for Copyright Protection and the Award for Copyright Administration Management. 

9. The value-added of the Chinese copyright industry exceeded CNY 6 trillion 

On 25 December 2018, the China Press and Publication Research Institute released the results of the economic contribution of China's copyright industry in 2017: the value-added of China's copyright industry was CNY 6.08 trillion, accounting for 7.35% of the national GDP. Specifically, the added-value of the core copyright industry was CNY 3.81 trillion, accounting for 4.61% of China’s GDP. In 2017, the market scale of China's online copyright industry reached CNY 636.5 billion, with a year-on-year increase of 27.2%. 

The important role of the copyright industry in promoting economic and social development has become increasingly prominent in China. 

10. Copyright judicial trial rules continued to improve 

In April 2018, the Beijing Higher People’s Court promulgated the Guide to the Trial of Infringement of Copyright Cases (available here, but only in Chinese), involving 11 key matters, including for instance the basic regulations, ownership, infringement determination, and grounds for defence. 

In December 2018, the Supreme People’s Court issued the Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on several issues concerning the application of law in examining cases involving act preservation in intellectual property disputes (available here), addressing four main matters, namely the procedural rules, substantive rules, the identification and the processing of the wrong application of the behavioural preservation, and the removal of behavioural preservation measures. 

The introduction of a series of judicial and relevant rules is of great significance for improving the quality of trials in intellectual property cases. 

Photoes courtesy: 
1st pic: tootie_bunface
2nd pic: ASIAOTT
3rd pic: Pandaily
4th pic: NCAC's website
The 10 Highlights of Copyright in China 2018 The 10 Highlights of Copyright in China 2018 Reviewed by Tian Lu on Thursday, March 28, 2019 Rating: 5

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