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IPR infringements curse of knowledge payment platforms

Updated: Aug 29, 2019 China Daily Print
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Billboards of, a Beijing-based knowledge-sharing website, have sprouted up in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Wang Qiming/China Daily]

Paying for knowledge, that is people paying for digests of books, has become popular among the time-pressured public, especially youngsters. But all parties involved should respect intellectual property rights. Guangming Daily comments:

It is estimated that the pay-for-knowledge market in China will reach 23.5 billion yuan ($168.24 million) by 2020. But meanwhile infringement of intellectual property rights has increased.

For instance, by spending 99 yuan to join a so-called knowledge crowdfunding community, you can easily get almost all the quality content of the major domestic pay-for-knowledge platforms within one year. And there have even been media reports that some official social media accounts attract subscriptions by providing the quality content of the most popular pay for knowledge platforms for free.

Intellectual property rights protection is not a new problem, but it has become increasingly complicated in the internet era because of the constant emergence of new business models and infringement-enabling technologies. Meanwhile, many pay-for-knowledge platforms fail to build a firewall for intellectual property rights protection, which leaves some loopholes for infringements.

The spread of intellectual property rights infringements will not only undermine the enthusiasm of quality content producers and lead to a situation in which bad money drives out good in the paying-for-knowledge field.

The pay-for-knowledge platforms should give more attention to intellectual property rights protection. They should establish professional intellectual property legal and technology teams to protect their intellectual property. It is a good solution for the platforms to implement incessant data monitoring and analysis, and timely report any intellectual property rights infringement.

Some new technologies, such as blockchain technology, may provide more effective protection for quality content in the pay-for-knowledge field. As a decentralized distributed ledger database, blockchain technology has the characteristics of being public, traceable and irreversible. Any original content could be recorded in blockchain, which means any intellectual property infringement can be easily traced.

But the new technology can only easily find intellectual property infringement, it cannot achieve the goal of protecting intellectual property rights without the support of sound laws and regulations. And it is also difficult for the content producers to safeguard their rights and interests if the cost of piracy is low and the cost of safeguarding their legal rights is high.

Intellectual property protection is a long-term issue that requires efforts from various parties including raising people's awareness that free reading may violate intellectual property rights.

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