Since the establishment of the National Copyright Administration of the People’s Republic of China (NCAC), in the past three decades and especially since the enactment of Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China more than 20 years ago, China’s copyright administration starts from scratch, constantly makes progress, and achieves remarkable achievements.
China establishes a copyright law system which is tailored to China’s national conditions and aligned with international rules, sets up copyright-related legal remedy system with the Chinese characteristics with equal emphasis on both justice and administration, and makes significant achievements in cracking down on various kinds of infringement and piracy. Copyright-related industries are in full swing. Public and social service framework for copyright is basically established. The international cooperation and exchange of copyright are constantly strengthened. Copyright awareness of the public is remarkably enhanced. Copyright law system plays an increasingly important role in building an innovation-oriented country. Copyright awareness of the citizens is obviously strengthened.
On June 5, 2008, the State Council set forth Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy, which not only proves that the Chinese Government emphasizes the intellectual property protection as a basic national strategy, but also further highlights important roles and functions of intellectual property system (including copyright) in China’s future development. On December 18, 2015, the State Council issued Several Opinions on Accelerating Construction of a Country with Powerful Intellectual Property under the New Situations, which not only further deepens the intellectual property strategy, but also provides new and powerful guidance and support for the copyright undertaking.
Primary Achievements of China’s Copyright Undertaking
Copyright Law System is Basically Established (I)
The basic framework of China’s copyright law system consists of laws, administrative regulations, administrative authority rules, normative documents, local rules and governmental regulations, judicial interpretations, relevant international conventions, etc. Thanks to great efforts in the past three decades, China has formed a relatively complete copyright law system which is tailored to China’s national conditions and aligned with international rules. Among them, Copyright Law is the most basic and important law in China’s copyright law system, and plays a fundamental role in adjusting the copyright interest relations and regularizing the social behaviors involved with copyright.
On Sept 7, 1990, the 24th Conference of the Standing Committee of the Seventh National People’s Congress (NPC) reviewed and adopted the first Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China, and the law was amended twice in 2001 and 2010, respectively. In July 2011, China launched the third amendment to Copyright Law and carried out a comprehensive amendment for this law. In September 2013, legislative planning of the 12th NPC Standing Committee officially included amendment to Copyright Law into Class A Project of Legislation in the following five years, that is, draft bill with mature conditions, which is proposed for deliberation during term of office of the 12th National People’s Congress. At present, Copyright Law (Exposure Draft for Amendment) is under comprehensive deliberation by Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.
Copyright Law System is Basically Established (II)
Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, which was amended in 1997, imposes criminal penalties for copyright infringements. The State Council successively promulgates six administrative regulations, i.e., Provisions on the Implementation of International Copyright Treaties, Regulations Concerning the Protection of Computer Software, Implementing Regulations of Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China, Regulations Concerning the Collective Management for Copyright, Regulations Concerning the Protection of Information Network Transmission Right and Interim Measures Concerning the Payment of Remuneration for Recording Products of Radio Stations and TV Stations.
The NCAC formulates and issues a series of administrative authority rules and normative documents. The Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate introduce six civil and criminal judicial interpretations or guiding opinions concerning copyright. As a result, the level of rule of law for copyright has been significantly increased.
Copyright Law System is Basically Established (III)
When improving the domestic copyright legal system, China also actively accedes to international copyright-related treaties, and fulfills its international obligations.
Since 1992, China has successively acceded to Universal Copyright Convention, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms, Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). China ratifies Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. In June 2013, China became a signatory of Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled in Morocco. China’s copyright law system is aligned with international rules.
Copyright Law Enforcement and Supervision are Constantly Strengthened (I)
In terms of copyright-related legal remedies, China implements the parallel judicial and administrative protection system. The people’s courts at all levels exercise the functions of civil, administrative and criminal judicial judgments for copyright. Copyright administrations of the governments at all levels exercise the functions of cracking down on infringement and piracy against the public interests.
Since 2004, China has started to launch comprehensive law enforcement system reform for cultural market, and clarifies that comprehensive law enforcers of cultural market shall exercise administrative law enforcement duties for copyright. In 2014, China set up intellectual property courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, respectively.
At present, in terms of administrative copyright protection, China has formed benign mechanism to integrate routine supervision and special action. In October 2010, the State Council launched a ten-month special campaign to crack down on intellectual property infringements and production and sale of counterfeit and shoddy goods, and witnessed remarkable outcomes. In November 2011, the State Council set up the “Office of the Leading Group against Intellectual Property Infringement and Production and Sale of Counterfeit and Shoddy Goods”, which improved the long-acting mechanism of such special action.
Copyright Law Enforcement and Supervision are Constantly Strengthened (II)
On the basis of intensifying routine supervision and control, the NCAC leads copyright administrations at all levels to vigorously launch a special campaign entitled “Sword Net” to crack down on infringement and piracy, strengthens network copyright supervision, makes more efforts on copyright law enforcement, and harvests remarkable fruits. For the serious problems of network infringement phenomena, since 2005, the NCAC has joined hands with Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Security, the State Internet Information Office and other administrative authorities to launch special campaign “Sword Net” against network copyright infringement and piracy for 12 consecutive years.
In the special campaign “Sword Net 2015”, 383 administrative cases were investigated and handled with administrative fine of RMB 4.5 million in total, 59 criminal cases were transferred to the judiciary authorities with involved amount of RMB 38.45 million in total, and 113 websites were closed down throughout the country, which effectively deterred the network infringement and piracy violations.
In 2016 July, the special campaign “Sword Net 2016” was officially launched. This special campaign focused on rectification of unauthorized dissemination of such works as network literature, news, film and television.
The Use of Copyrighted Software Continues to Forge Ahead
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to software copyright protection, and fulfills the special task for the use of copyrighted software. Since General Office of the State Council conducted comprehensive arrangement for the use of copyrighted software throughout all subordinate authorities of the State Council in 2001, China has spared no effort to spread the use of copyrighted software for 15 years, which gradually extends from the central authorities and local governments to enterprises and public institutions nationwide.
In February 2007, with the approval of the State Council, the NCAC, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Commerce and other seven administrative authorities jointly established “Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference System for Promoting the Use of Copyrighted Software in Enterprises”. Later, a total of 15 administrative authorities take part in Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference System. Under the overall arrangement and guidance of the State Council, the promotion of copyrighted software makes significant progress.
Promotion of copyrighted software effectively curbs the software piracy, further standardizes the software market order, raises the awareness of intellectual property protection in the whole society, significantly improves software copyright environment, and vigorously boosts the development of the Chinese software industry. Gross output of the Chinese software industry skyrocketed from RMB 59.3 billion in 2000 to RMB 4.3 trillion in 2015.
Copyright Social Service System Matures
The Chinese Government pays attention to construction of copyright service system. At present, China has established the copyright public service, social service and market service system composed of copyright public service organizations, copyright industry associations and copyright collective management organizations.
From the central level to local level, China has successively set up copyright public service agencies and systems at all levels which operate across the country. In 2013, the number of registered copyrights exceeded 1 million for the first time. In 2014, the number of registered copyrights totaled 1.211313 million. In 2015, the number reached 1.641166 million, and achieved the target as specified by the 12th Five-Year Plan two years ahead of schedule. In 2015, 1.3482 million works and 292,360 computer software copyrights were registered, up by 35.9% and 33.63% respectively compared with 2014.
Copyright Industry Witnesses Vigorous and Sound Development (I)
Thanks to China’s reform and opening up in the past three decades, in the development process of market economy and knowledge economy, copyright industry, with literature and art, press and publication, radio, film and television, culture and entertainment, arts and crafts, computer software and information network as highlights, develops rapidly, while innovation-oriented enterprises keep emerging. In the process of economic development, copyright industry demonstrates great latecomer advantage, and becomes a new growth engine of the national economy and a pillar industry of new economy.
In order to give full play to the exemplary role of key cities, key enterprises and key entities in promoting the development of copyright industry, the NCAC introduced Administrative Measures Concerning National Copyright Demonstration Cities, Demonstration Entities and Demonstration Parks (Bases) in 2009, with a view to vigorously promoting copyright demonstration construction. In 2013, the NCAC revised and improved the Measures.
By the end of 2015, eight national copyright demonstration cities, 56 national copyright demonstration entities and 18 national copyright demonstration parks (bases) were designated. Two national copyright demonstration cities were approved for construction. Across the nation, 12 copyright trading centers (trade bases) were inaugurated. Alliance of National Copyright Demonstration Cities and Alliance of National Copyright Trade Centers were established in 2015.
Copyright Industry Witnesses Vigorous and Sound Development (II)
Since 2007, the NCAC has adopted survey method of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and has entrusted Chinese Academy of Press and Publication to launch survey on “Economic Contribution of China’s Copyright Industry”. From 2006 to 2014, China’s copyright industry continued to make increasing contribution to the national economy. Its added value rose from RMB1.348933 trillion in 2006 to RMB4.628781 trillion in 2014, with the average annual growth rate of 17%. The contribution ratio of copyright industry to GDP increased from 6.39% to 7.28%, which increased by 0.89 percentage point within nine years (2006-2014).
In order to improve China’s copyright innovation ability, push forward the prosperity and development of copyright industry and encourage advanced models to set the pace, the NCAC and the WIPO jointly launch the cooperation program of “WIPO-NCAC Copyright Awards”. Formerly known as the “WIPO Creativity Award (China)”, it has been successfully held for four times and a total of 55 Chinese copyright-related enterprises, institutions and copyright holders have won the award. It not only attracts wide attention from the domestic and international communities, but also receives active responses.
Copyright Industry Witnesses Vigorous and Sound Development (III)
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to cultural exchange and cooperation with the rest of the world. Copyright trade is an important vehicle of cultural exchange and cooperation. At present, China’s copyright trade development continuously accelerates, and relevant market players in China are having a stronger awareness of copyright trade. The copyright trade achieves remarkable results, and presents a sound and rapid development trend.
China International Copyright Expo, organized by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (the NCAC), which has been held five times up to now, giving an impetus to the development of China’s copyright trade. Market players gradually enhance their awareness and ability to promote copyright trade, and emerge as an important driving force for the Chinese culture to “Go Global”.
The copyright trade promotes cultural exchange and cooperation between China and other countries, plays a crucial role in letting China embrace the world and letting the world appreciate China, and contributes to the development of cultural diversity all over the world.
Copyright Publicity and Training are Constantly Reinforced
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to copyright education and popularization. In 2000, China, together with Algeria, made a proposal to the WIPO on annual celebration of “World Intellectual Property Day” on April 26. In recent years, China’s copyright publicity forms the normalized mechanism, which takes advantage of “Intellectual Property Week on April 26” as an important platform, and makes full use of official website, Weibo, WeChat and news client terminal of the NCAC to promote copyright work. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, through the concerted efforts of domestic copyright authorities at all levels, the copyright awareness of the Chinese nationals was increasingly enhanced. Favorable social atmosphere of respecting knowledge, respecting creation and respecting copyright is being gradually formed.
For a long time, copyright training closely echoes with the development of press, law enforcement, justice and industry. Every year, the NCAC organizes four copyright law enforcement training courses, seven copyrighted software training courses, three “media seminars on copyright-related hot issues” and other copyright-related training courses to improve the professional quality of copyright-related practitioners and promote recognition and understanding of copyright undertaking in different sectors of the society.
International Copyright Exchange and Cooperation Continuously Advance
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to and actively participates in copyright cooperation and exchange with the international community, facilitates the normalization of external copyright relations, strengthens China’s position in international copyright arena, and brings full play to China’s role in this area.
In June 1980, China joined the WIPO. Since then, China always maintains close and friendly relations with the WIPO. In June 2012, the NCAC and the Beijing Municipal People’s Government successfully hosted “WIPO Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances”, and officially entered into Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. In 2014, WIPO Office in China (WOC) opened in Beijing. In December 2015, NCAC and the WIPO signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Further Strengthening the Bilateral Cooperation between the WIPO and the NCAC(the “MOU”), bringing their close cooperation to a new height.
In addition to the WIPO, China also lays emphasis on cooperation with other international organizations engaged in copyright. At the same time, the Chinese Government actively propels bilateral exchanges and consultations on intellectual property. For example, China actively implements the memorandums of cooperation with the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries on intellectual property, promotes high-level mutual leaders’ visits for copyright affairs, and jointly launches thematic copyright discussions. China continuously strengthens cooperation with other countries and regions in the field of copyright protection, advances the establishment of sound international copyright partnership, enhances mutual understanding, and effectively safeguards the national interests.
The establishment of China’s copyright system and sound development of copyright undertaking are owed to China’s policy of reform and opening up, China’s social transformation and economic transition, great progress in economic globalization and extensive international cooperation.
At present, under the background that China steps up the effort to build an innovation-oriented country and a country with powerful intellectual property, and comprehensively promotes Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy and implements Several Opinions on Accelerating Construction of a Country with Powerful Intellectual Property under the New Situations, copyright protection has become basic consensus among all sectors of society in China. Strengthening copyright protection has become a social responsibility.
To promote China’s copyright undertaking, we will fully and faithfully implement the guidelines of the 18th CPC National Congress and the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Plenary Sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee, follow the principle of “incentives for creation, effective application, protection pursuant to law and scientific management”, adhere to the intellectual property development path with Chinese characteristics, focus on strengthening the copyright application and protection, create a favorable legal environment, market environment and cultural environment for copyright, and strongly underpin the building of both an innovation-oriented country and a moderately prosperous society in all respects. It is firmly believed that China’s copyright undertaking will enjoy a bright prospect.